The African National Congress Nelson Mandela Region hereby expresses its sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Professor Jakes Gerwel, who sadly passed away at Kuilsrivier hospital following heart surgery.
Professor Gerwel, 66 – who was Chairman of Media24, Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, former UWC Vice-Chancellor, and former Secretary of Cabinet and DG of the Presidency in the country’s first democratic dispensation under Nelson Mandela in 1994 – is from the Eastern Cape and grew up in Port Elizabeth, where his commitment to the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa was first engendered during his formative and youth years.
Professor Gerwel was an academic, an activist for freedom and democracy, a gentleman and family man, and an active, positive contributor to democracy and development in his country, qualities which we in the ANC encourage all South Africans to emulate, especially our youth.
Prof Gerwel always reminded South Africans of the great country that we live in and all the things that we should be thankful for, especially the democracy and freedom for which he and many others fought for and suffered.
In the words of Prof Gerwel: “We often forget the miracle of our transition, the fact that a country so deeply divided managed to negotiate a settlement and establish a democratic order and a government of national unity among the diverse cultural, ethnic but particularly political groupings we have in the country…”
“What has changed fundamentally in South Africa is that it got a democratic government, a government and polity in which all of its people and all its political tendencies hold together.”
Among the many awards that Prof Gerwel received was the Order of the Southern Cross, the Order of Good Deeds (from Libya) and the Freedom of the Town from Somerset East. The award that he deserves is for all of us to continue his legacy to actively, positively and constructively contribute to building a better life for all in our country.
The ANC Nelson Mandela Region offers its heartfelt condolences to his wife Phoebe, children Jessie and Heinrich, and grandchildren. Moreover, we offer our thanks to you for having giving South Africa such a wonderful, committed, passionate South African who did everything he could for the betterment of his country and his fellow citizens’ lives.
Regional Secretary ANC Nelson Mandela Region