RIP: ‘People’s economist’ Sampie Terreblanche dies at 84

Veteran political economist and academic Professor Johannes ‘Sampie’ Terreblanche passed away on Saturday at the age of 84.

Terreblanche was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in September 2017. He passed away peacefully at his home in Stellenbosch.

His daughter, Christelle Terreblanche, writes on his official website:

To sum up Sampie Terreblanche simply as a ‘maverick’ intellectual would perhaps be unfair. His progression from an Afrikaner nationalist to an advocate of its demise to an ANC supporter to a fierce critic of the ruling party was certainly spectacular and often dramatic. But each step in his fifty years as public intellectual and political economist was preceded by deep soul-searching and intense discussions with his close friends and family about how to best serve the common good.

Sampie may ultimately be remembered for his fearlessness in speaking truth to power, and a public intellectual who constantly reminded apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa of the injustice inherent in economic inequality.

Terreblanche was the author of several books, including History of Inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 (2002), Lost in Transformation: South Africa’s Search for a New Future Since 1986 (2013), and Western Empires: Christianity and the Inequalities Between the West and the Rest (2014).

Terreblanche earned his BA, MA and PhD degrees at Stellenbosch University. From 1957 to 1964 he lectured at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. In 1965 he moved to Stellenbosch University as a Senior Lecturer and became Professor of Economics in 1968. Since 1996 he has been an Emeritus Professor of Economics at Stellenbosch University. The University of the Free State awarded him a Doctor Commercii (honoris causa) in 2005. He received an Honorary Doctorate in Economics from the University of Pretoria in 2013.

Professor Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, said: ‘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.’

Tributes to Terreblanche have poured in on Twitter, from Zwelinzima Vavi‏, Thuli Madonsela, Africa is a Country, Adam Habib, Floyd Shivambu, and many others:

The Reading List sends condolences to Terreblanche’s family, friends and colleagues.

Categories Non-fiction South Africa

Tags History of Inequality in South Africa 1652-2002 Lost in Transformation News Obituary RIP Sampie Terreblanche Western Empires

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