In Memoriam - Jacorina Rossouw

11 Dec 2020 - 09:45

It is with great sorrow that we inform you of the death of our student, Ms Jacorina Amanda Rossouw (76), who passed away on 27 October due to natural causes.

In 2013 she commenced with occasional studies, after which she would register for a few law courses per year. This year she had registered for intermediate year subjects.

As an older student, she will be remembered as someone with ‘old school’ manners. She always referred to her lecturers by their titles, not by first name, even though she was their senior by half and sometimes twice their age. She was kind in the words she used when she spoke and was always full of praise. She had a way of making people feel good for doing what seemed the most menial of tasks.

Associate Professor Cathy Powell shares particular memories of her regular engagement with Jacorina:

When Pierre [de Vos] told us about Jacorien’s death, we all responded with warmth, remembering her well.  One colleague said, ‘Those of us who taught Jacorien will remember her fondly as a student who was passionate about her studies.’ 

My own dealings with Jacorien included frequent and detailed emails.  I have years of correspondence with her in my email folder, covering not just the course I was teaching her but a myriad of outside events that were not part of the syllabus, but related to the subject, and also other matters that had no relation to Constitutional Law at all. 

She attended the interviews held by the Judicial Service Commission of applicant judges, and later followed them online when the JSC stopped travelling around the country for these events.  She passed on her impressions of the interviews to me, saying that they made Constitutional Law ‘come alive’. 

One year, she sent me a note saying how much she liked the puppy whose image appeared on my laptop screen when I used it to project lectures to the class.  I replied with a photo of my own dog, and got some news about her French Poodle in response.

At some point, in 2016, when UCT was battling through protests and polarisation, Jacorien made the following comment to me:

‘We are all going through uncertain and very desperate times. Somewhere the storm must and will cease like in Beethoven's [Sixth] Symphony......  there is a silence......then the happy cuckoo blurts the good news....... the beauty and serenity has returned like never before… and life will and has moved on...... like in the past...... again and again.........’

I hope that Jacorien’s own life force remains a comfort and inspiration to her loved ones.

                                                                                                                                Cathy Powell

Ms Rossouw is survived by her children, Hélène, Stefan and Lanelle.

The university has reached out to the family to offer support in this time of bereavement. Our sincere condolences go out to Ms Rossouw’s family, friends, and all who knew her.