When paging through sources of Cape Town history, one finds that the name Richard van der Ross is constantly before one. That is not surprising when one considers the stretch of his involvement in that history.
Academically he held a BA, B.Ed. MA. PhD. Taught at the Karoo Secondary School, Beaufort West, later as Principal of Grassy Park Secondary School, became an Inspector of Education, editor of the Cape Herald and then in 1975 Rector of the University of the Western Cape. During these years he was also very politically active against the apartheid government. In 1998 he was appointed as South Africa’s Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. What is also important to remember of Professor van der Ross is that during his working life he wrote putting his knowledge to paper so that future generations would have primary sources from which to learn. This he continued doing even when allegedly he was in retirement.
It is through his knowledge of local history that I became acquainted with Professor Doctor van der Ross. One day researching certain historical details, to which I could not find an answer, I plucked up my courage and phoned the gentleman. He listened most politely to my questions and answered me. Well from then on we chatted via the phone and on occasion I would visit him so that we could iron out history matters, particularly where it touched on the history of Constantia. He was a virtual encyclopedia on minute facts. I listened carefully to what he had to tell me and now, while time has passed, I am glad that I did pluck up my courage.
You will be well remembered Professor.
From the Editor of ImagineMag! Amy Gould
Professor van der Ross was my guest of honour at the official opening of my school and theatre many years ago.
We were later to serve on the Western Cape Cultural Commission 2005 – 2008 and what an interesting time that was.
When Prof turned 90 both my sister and I attended the birthday celebrations together with his family and friends. What a lively occasion it was.
That penetrating eye and probing mind will long be remembered even by those who suffered his abrasive tongue yielded with the skill of a surgeon. You will not be forgot.