A mentee who became a mentor: Professor Jonathan Jansen mourns death of Pretoria school teacher

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A mentee who became a mentor: Professor Jonathan Jansen mourns death of Pretoria school teacher
A mentee who became a mentor: Professor Jonathan Jansen mourns death of Pretoria school teacher

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Stellenbosch University Professor Jonathan Jansen is mourning the death of his mentee – a teacher at Eersterust Secondary School, Pretoria, Sinoxolo Gcilitshana.

The circumstances around Gcilitshana’s murder remain unclear, but News24 understands that he died in the early hours of Monday in a violent crime.

When Jansen was the vice-chancellor at the University of the Free State, a matric exam marker told him that Gcilitshana had obtained “almost 100%” for his history exam.

Impressed, Jansen tracked him down on social media.

Gcilitshana from Nyanga, in Cape Town, told Jansen he wanted to become a bus driver because his mother could not afford university fees, but Jansen offered him a life-changing opportunity.

Jansen said:

Gcilitshana obtained his teaching degree, but this was only the beginning of his academic career. He was soon awarded a Mandela Rhodes scholarship and study history at the University of Cape Town.

Jansen said Gcilitshana’s journey in university was not an easy one. He had contemplated quitting due to safety concerns for his mother and sister, who lived alone in their shack in Nyanga.

He described Gcilitshana as his mentee who had become his mentor.

“He taught me to live every minute of my life to the full because you don’t know when it will end. He also taught me to live for other people so they can also benefit. He taught me to remember the people who built into my life. He had a lot of gratitude. There is so much to depress one in South Africa, but he was so full of life, so positive,” Jansen said.

UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng was also close to Gcilitshana. She was too emotional to talk to News24.

Comment from Gauteng police and the Department of Basic Education will be added once received.

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