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Russel Botman Bursary Fund

​The late Prof Russel Botman was passionate about creating opportunities for deserving students to gain access to higher education. And it is this legacy that Stellenbosch University will continue to honour – with your help.Russel_Botman.jpg

Prof Botman established the Russel Botman Bursary Fund (RBBF) on his 60th birthday on 18 October 2013 - requesting friends, family and colleagues to contribute to the Fund in lieu of gifts. This Bursary Fund now gives each one of us the opportunity to help make his dream of creating a better future for the next generation, a reality.

Prof Hayman Russel Botman did not only make a positive difference in Stellenbosch but was highly-regarded in higher education circles the world over.

Stellenbosch University honoured his legacy of reconciliation, human dignity and social justice, with the naming of a new senior residence on the Stellenbosch campus. The residence, Huis Russel Botman House, was officially opened in 2015 on Human Rights Day (21 March).  Also in 2015, the Faculty of Theology hosted the first annual Russel Botman Memorial Lecture.

Prof Botman was halfway through his second term as Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University when he passed away in his sleep on 28 June 2014.

First appointed in 2007, he was reappointed for a second 5-year term in 2012.

At the time of his death, he was also Senior Vice-President of the Association of African Universities, Chairperson of the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 Board and a Director of Higher Education South Africa and of Media24.

Born in Bloemfontein on 18 October 1953, he attended the Dr Blok School in Heatherdale at primary level and matriculated from Kliptown Senior Secondary School in Johannesburg. He graduated from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), with the degrees BA (1978), BTh (1979), BTh Licentiate (1981), MTh cum laude (1984) and DTh (1994).

As Public Relations Officer of UWC's Student Representative Council in 1976, the year of the Soweto uprising, he led his fellow students in human rights protests against apartheid laws.

Ordained in 1982, he served as minister of religion of the Wynberg congregation of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church from 1982 to 1993. He played a key role in forming the Uniting Reformed Church of Southern Africa (URCSA) and remained a staunch proponent of church unity within the Dutch Reformed Church Family to the end.

He joined UWC in 1994 as a Senior Lecturer in Practical Theology and was promoted to Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Religion and Theology in 1999. In 2000, he joined SU as Professor in Missiology, Ecumenism and Public Theology.

At SU, he became Vice-Rector: Teaching in 2002, and served in that position until his historic appointment as the institution's first black Rector and Vice-Chancellor in 2007. He also served as President of the South African Council of Churches from 2003 to 2007 and had published widely on human rights, reconciliation, human dignity and social justice.

The title of his inauguration address at SU in April 2007 was "A multicultural university with a pedagogy of hope in Africa", and he said that he would devote his time in office to the practical realisation of SU's stated commitment to redress and development. He launched the University's HOPE Project in 2010, a ground-breaking science-for-society initiative. In 2013, he guided the University to the adoption of its new Vision 2030, which is to become more inclusive, innovative and future focused.

In March 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate, Doctor of Letters, by Hope College in Michigan for leadership in higher education and the Reformed church to promote a more just society for all South Africans, and in April 2013 he received Princeton Theological Seminary's Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Theology and Public Life. He had received honorary membership of the United Nations Association of South Africa for advancing the Millennium Development Goals. And his honorary doctorate, Doctor of Laws, from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland was rec​eived on his behalf by his widow in July 2014.

You can make a gift to the RUSSEL BOTMAN BURSARY FUND: 

​BANKStandard Bank​
ACC NAME Stellenbosch University
ACC NO073006955 (conditional )
​ H733 + initials and surname