98 S. African L.J. 402 (1981)
In Memoriam: Barend van Niekerk

handle is hein.journals/soaf98 and id is 412 raw text is: NOTES AND COMMENTS
IN MEMORIAM: BAREND VAN NIEKERK
A Tribute by the Editor
During the late night of Saturday 20 June or the early morning of
the next day, in a room in a small hotel in the remote village of
Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, Barend van
Dyk van Niekerk died, alone, not known to anyone in the area. It
took some time for the local authorities to identify him. When
Professor Exton Burchell telephoned me from Pietermaritzburg in
the evening of the following Tuesday to say that Professor Tony
Mathews had received the news from government sources that day,
I felt an infinite sadness. It was almost as though a beloved nephew
had left this life. How ironic, in a way, that this vibrant, colourful
man should suddenly be removed from us in the silence of the
night far from home in an obscure hotel room in a faraway land.
And yet his death, in a sense, went with his personality: he was a
citizen of the world, at ease and self-confident anywhere, on the
move whenever he felt that his obligations to his family and
university allowed. Wanderlust would seize him. Sometimes I, as
one of his oldest friends, on hearing of Barend's darting into
strange parts of the globe, would recall W J Turner's lines:
'The houses, people, traffic seemed
Thin fading dreams by day;
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi,
They had stolen my soul away!'
What was he doing in Bolivia? Apparently he was on a six-week
study tour of North and South America and Europe, and was to
attend a conference, though no one knows what it was or where.
He had booked on the plane from Cape Town to Buenos Aires. A
good friend of his, a former medical professor, had warned him not
to go, for his diastolic blood pressure was high, and he was in poor
physical condition and in a strange frame of mind, suffering from
stress. Stay at sea-level in Durban, said the friend, for a couple of
weeks and let us stabilize the condition; if you go to a high altitude
you will put your life in danger. Barend, as usual not open to
conviction, brushed the plea aside, saying he intended going to
Lima, only 500 feet high; but he promised to see a doctor in Cape

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