It is with great sadness that I express Stellenbosch University’s deepest condolences to the family of Professor Sampie Terreblanche, said Professor Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University.
“We honour him as a legendary political economist; much loved inspirational lecturer for thousands of our students, and one of Stellenbosch University’s critical voices.”
The university awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Terreblanche in December 2015.
His academic career at SU spanned half of the 90-year existence of its economic and management sciences (EMS) faculty.
He was honoured for “his outstanding contributions as profound analyst of socio-economic systems and his fearless advocacy for the end of apartheid.” Through the years, he had a lasting impact on many an economics student at SU.
Professor Terreblanche enjoyed legendary status at SU. With the very same flaming passion with which he had influenced local and international thought on the social-economic system, he unlocked his discipline for his students.
He made outstanding contributions as a profound observer and analyst of Western socio-economic systems, as inspiring lecturer and as a leading author.
Not only do many prominent economists ascribe their success to this innovative thinker, but many alumni in careers outside economics owe their critical thinking skills to his distinctively vibrant lecturing style.
His emphasis on social amelioration for the broader community serves as a running theme in his scholarly work. As a member of the then Commission of Enquiry into Matters Relating to the Coloured Population Group (1973-1976) – the Erika Theron Commission – he became deeply affected by the problem of structural poverty.
This became a constant influence on his views of South Africa’s political economy, manifesting in a number of his publications, which include 12 books and over 30 articles and book chapters. Even academic colleagues of dissenting views acknowledge the outstanding quality of his work.
His contribution to political transformation was aimed at social improvement for the majority. His insights have remained influential post-1994, and his A history of Inequality in South Africa, 1652-2002 in particular has become a significant reference for contemporary South African economic and social analysis.