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Son fondly remembers departed father, icon

Mothusi Jo van Rensburg recounts with fondness an industrious and beloved father whose pragmatism towards issues of education with production was beyond famous and without doubt.

For the better part of the interview, Mothusi paints the late local pioneer of education with production, Patrick van Rensburg as a man who was preoccupied with thought to a level where he would wake up at 3am daily.
van Rensburg passed away last week Tuesday and was cremated Saturday.

Mothusi is currently awaiting some family members from England so they could prepare for a memorial service for a man who committed his days on earth to helping mankind and pushing for betterment of lives and economy.

While many have written obituaries about the late van Rensburg BOPA caught up with his surviving son to learn about the iconic man’s life as a father and grandfather.

He tells that cremating the body of his late father was the only option, though done in consultation with family members, he had while awaiting their arrival.

Upon their arrival there will be a huge memorial service for the iconic man which will be announced in due course.

van Rensburg’s immense contribution to education, economy and the media, to some extent detached him from his family except on holidays, away from home where he would spend quality time with family.

However, even during the holidays van Rensburg would be in possession of a bag-load of writing, reading and studying material, Mothusi says.

Though he left Botswana at 11 years after completing his standard seven grade at Swaneng Primary School, Mothusi gathers that upon his return from England van Ransburg was an ever-busy man.

Even during his working days at Swaneng and Serowe brigade, the son recalls, van Rensburg would spend time with a group that helped construct houses for the members and thereby leaving him a limited time for family.

Despite having been diagnosed with Alzheimer, a disease that could have resulted from brain prolonged activity, for over a decade and succumbed to it only Tuesday last week (May 23), van Rensburg would not rest.

However, realising his father’s condition was deteriorating Mothusi relocated him from Gaborone to Serowe sometimes before 50th anniversary of the Swaneng Hill School that he founded, amongst an array of his contributions.

Even in this condition van Rensburg felt he could still work, according to the grieving son he finds that the situation was not as grave then though precaution was highly necessary.

“He loved Durban and he would talk about going back there,” said Mothusi about his departed father.

Famed and renowned for education with production that he popularised at Serowe Brigade that he founded, van Ransburg has many accolades to his name.

He taught at Simon Ratshosa Primary School whereupon he realised students needed to further their education owing to devoid of a secondary school.

He then sourced funds to found Swaneng Hill School where he also taught before establishing Serowe Brigades.

He reportedly arrived in the early 1960s whereupon he left for England where he met his wife.

Mothusi reckons his father was vocal against apartheid in South Africa and he joined the liberal party to speak against the injustices meted on humankind by the apartheid regime.

In London, in the 1950s van Rensburg joined the boycott movement that urged the world to boycott apartheid and its manifestations.

It was in his second coming to Botswana, with his wife that he found a permanent home in Serowe where he taught at Simon Ratshosa Primary School.

van Rensburg started Mmegi newspaper in 1984 and the paper printed at the brigades.

It was in the same year that Serowe community leaders sought that van Ransburg help in reviving the brigades which had collapsed. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Manowe Motsaathebe

Location : SEROWE

Event : Interview

Date : May 29 Mon,2017

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