It is with a deep sense of sadness to learn about the sudden passing of Stanley Henkeman, who has been at the helm of the Institute for Justice & Reconciliation (IJR), a globally renowned social justice research outfit and think tank based in Cape Town. Stan was a scholar, researcher and activist, who was committed to bridging societal divisions caused by many decades of racist apartheid misrule and its racist worldview.
Perhaps the most enduring of his legacy would be his insistence on collaboration with communities of practice and organs of state – all in the pursuit of achieving the promise of our Constitution which envisions a future South African society that is truly non-racial, non-sexist and democratic; and founded on human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.
Stan believed that while researchers and activists needed to jealously guard their neutrality and independence, this need not detract from seeking ways to collaborate with the state and its institutions wherever circumstances so dictated, especially since working towards achieving the promise of the Constitution falls on all of us – both within the state and without. It was for this reason that the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture expressed a principled agreement to collaborate with the Institute and plans were afoot towards development of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Institute and the Department.
As a way to safeguard Stan’s legacy, both the Institute and the Department will double effort in ensuring that there is a clear framework for collaboration, with commensurate Plan of Action. Stan was one of Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s Social Cohesion Advocates and as Social Cohesion Advocates, we had looked forward to taking full advantage of his expertise for the benefit of our programme.
Social Cohesion Advocates are eminent persons, academics, activists and practitioners who were appointed by Minister to conduct advocacy work in communities to promote social cohesion and nation building and we glad that till his passing, Stan was one of us. COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, as we continue to lose committed souls like Stan, to our nation building project. We call upon South Africans to remain safe and follow all COVID-19 health protocols, as directed by the World Health Organization and our own Department of Health. In Stan we lost a fearless, dedicated and warm soul from whom much was still expected.
Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with his lovely wife Sharon and his three sons Luke, Joshua and Aaron. And may his entire family, including his friends and colleagues at the Institute be comforted.
Enquiries: Ms Zimasa Velaphi, 072 172 8925
Issued by the Ministry of Sport, Arts & Culture