UWC Bids Fond Farewell To Professor Nicholas Basson
UWC mourns the recent passing of celebrated musician and respected Emeritus Professor Nicholas Basson - a man whose talent and passion for sharing the wonders of music left a lasting impression at the University, and beyond.
Professor Nicholas John Basson was born on 23 August 1940 in Salt River, Western Cape, South Africa. He displayed a keen interest in the musical arts from an early age, and graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1959 with a Bachelor in Music.
A strong believer in lifelong learning, he went on to receive a Bachelor of Education with distinction from the University of South Africa in 1973, graduated from the University of London in 1982 with his Master of Arts degree and later, in 1987, completed his PhD at the same institution.
Professor Basson joined the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in 1975, where he was appointed as a lecturer and later promoted to senior lecturer, full professor, and senior professor.
In 1988, he was appointed as Head of the Music Department at UWC. He became Deputy Dean and then Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts. In recognition of his services to the University and the community over a period of 30 years, the title Emeritus Professor was conferred to him in 2005 - the same year he became Director of UWC’s Centre for the Performing Arts.
Professor Basson’s influence and passion wasn’t limited to South Africa. He travelled extensively both nationally and abroad, lecturing in Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the USA and Canada. He held the position of Director of the Cape Town City Ballet at the Artscape Theatre, and was an International Choral Adjudicator and Conductor, serving at choral festivals in South Africa, Europe, Scandinavia and the USA.
His work earned him numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Award by the International Institute of Education; the Higher Education Trust Award (for postgraduate studies); the Mauerberger Educational Trust Award; the Ernest Oppenheimer Trust Award; the USA International Visitor’s Award; and the Cape Tercentenary Award for distinguished contributions to Music Education in the Western Cape.
But the awards weren’t what mattered most to Prof Basson.
“As a UWC Music alumna I had the privilege of being in the presence of a great man, who provided continuous mentoring and support to many of us throughout our careers,” says Henriette Weber, Prof Basson’s successor as Director of the CPA.
“To this day, he served as moderator at all the CPA examinations, and would often reflect proudly on the accomplishments of his colleagues in the music department, and on his pride and joy - the UWC Music Alumni who made UWC proud nationally and internationally.”
The University would like to extend its condolences to Professor Basson’s wife of 52 years, Patricia Louise Basson, and their children Karl, André, Yvette and Kurt.
“It is with great sadness that we share Prof Basson’s passing - but at the same time he has handed us the baton to continue his legacy,” says Weber. “As we celebrate your life, may we strive to do our very best in living your legacy at UWC and in the communities we serve.”
The Requiem Mass to celebrate Prof Nicholas Basson’s extraordinary life will take place on Friday 24 November 2017 at 11:00 at the Parish of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Parow.
Tribute By Henriette Weber
It is with great sadness that we share Emeritus Professor Nicholas Basson's passing, but at the same time he has handed us the baton to continue his legacy.
I speak as a UWC Music alumna and as the current head of the Centre for the Performing Arts (CPA).
I had the privilege of being in the presence of a great man as a pipe organ, piano and music education student who continued supporting and mentoring me throughout my career. Prof recommended me for two positions. Firstly for my very first position at Bellville College of Education in Kuils River and my current position at the Centre for the Performing Arts as his successor.
At the CPA, Prof remained supportive of my initiatives and during our many discussions he would reflect proudly on his colleagues in the music department, namely the late Wilfred Foster, Bruce Gardiner, Cherry Olivier, Prof Franklin Larey and others not to mention his pride and joy - the UWC Music Alumni who made UWC proud nationally and internationally. Prof served as moderator at all the CPA examinations and will be sorely missed when we start examining next week.
It was with great humility that I accepted Prof's proposal for me to succeed him at the CPA. As we face unsettling times in higher education and the arts have through the years been the first departments to face budget cuts. Probably Prof's saddest day was the closure of the Music Department, but the opening of the Centre for the Performing Arts rekindled his joy.
As we celebrate your life Prof Basson, may we strive to do our very best in living your legacy at UWC and in the communities we serve.
Rest in peace my mentor, teacher, biggest supporter, and dear friend Prof Nic Basson. You trusted me with the CPA, your baby - an honour and a privilege which I will always appreciate and cherish. Thank you Prof!
Director at UWC’s Centre for the Performing Arts