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Passing of Prof Francois De Villiers

Prof Francois De Villiers: Passing of a true scholar

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) mourns the loss of a respected colleague and friend, Professor François De Villiers, who passed away on Saturday 28 June 2014.

Prof De Villiers was a long-standing and esteemed member of the UWC Law Faculty – even after his formal retirement and years of service at North-West University – and made a significant contribution to its smooth administration and development.

Born on 13 April 1942, De Villiers leaves behind his wife Adri whom he married in 1966, as well as four children and six grandchildren. UWC extends its heartfelt condolences to Prof De Villiers's family and friends, as well as the many colleagues whose lives he touched over 49 years as a Law lecturer.

His lecturing career began at the University of Fort Hare in 1966, an Afrikaner working among African students, whom he cared for and taught with empathy. He went on to teach as a Professor of Law at 5 South African universities, to serve as Head of Department and Dean of Law at two, and to hold the office of Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bophuthatswana.

He was an academic of note, who published many papers, books and articles on Legal History, Comparative Law, Jurisprudence; Legal and Cultural Pluralism, and especially African Customary Law. He sat on a number of boards, organised many inter-university events, and believed that law belonged to the people as well as to academia – his expertise was sought out by courts and practitioners alike, and he was a jurist with a strong sense of justice.

His passing has deprived the South African legal academy of one of its most senior and dependable members - a man of integrity and conviction.

A memorial service will be held for Prof De Villiers at the Stellenbosch Welgelegen Church in Buitekring Street, Stellenbosch, on the morning of 10 July, at 10 AM.