(Published - 3 December 2019)
Advocate Vernon Jantjies, affectionately known as Vakes by those who knew him, was a valued alumnus of UWC’s Faculty of Law and considered as one of the legends of UWC football.
I was one of his former teammates in my playing days as a student. We have been working together on a project called UWC Soccer Legends, of which he was a co-founder, to be launched next year. It is an initiative to celebrate, acknowledge and recognise alumni who made a contribution to football at the University.
We owe Vernon a debt of gratitude for his commitment and loyalty to UWC. He was a friend and teammate and one of our football legends who kept football players from different generations united in their ties to UWC. My heart is bleeding and my sincere condolences to his friends and family for the tragic loss.
I have been in touch with our other former teammates and fellow students and they are all in a state of grief. Advocate Stanley Jacobs remembers how when he enrolled at UWC as a law student in 1983, Vernon was there to assist with his orientation. Vernon did the same in 1984 and 1985.
“In 1983, he was instrumental in the establishment of the hostel soccer league which was the frontrunner of the Campus Mini Soccer World Cup. He played a pivotal role in the soccer integration of students from different provinces – which was a serious issue at the time,” said Stanley.
“Vernon was part of the soccer management and team that motivated for a UWC soccer team to affiliate in the district amateur soccer league. After joining the Department of Justice as a prosecutor, and at courts where he stationed, he mentored all new prosecutors coming from UWC.
“Through the UWC Soccer Legends structure, he facilitated and encourage supporters to support all UWC sport activities around the country. He was a real sport ambassador for UWC!”
Vernon was also part of the organising team for the forthcoming UWC Soccer Legends reunion, which is scheduled for 2020 – an opportunity to recognise the contribution he and others have made to the UWC community.
Professor Tyrone Pretorius
Rector and Vice-Chancellor
University of the Western Cape
Hostel Soccer Team 1982