Professor Russel Botman's death was a loss for educational institutions, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Saturday.
“He demonstrated that black people can manage complex educational institutions splendidly and we were very proud of him,” Tutu said.
He said Botman was a precocious and courageous young church leader who emerged in the cauldron of the 1980s peoples' struggle against apartheid to put the feet of older church leaders to the fire.
The municipality of Stellenbosch conveyed its condolences to the family of Botman.
“Botman had so much more to offer in terms of leadership, a vision for promoting justice, transformation and reconciliation.
“The world has been left poorer because of his death,” municipal spokesman Vernon Bowers said.
The municipality would continue to promote Botman's ideals.
“The university, Stellenbosch, South Africa and the world lost a leader who fought for justice, transformation and reconciliation since his days as a student at the University of the Western Cape,” Bowers said.
The SABC reported that Botman joined Stellenbosch University in 2000 as a professor in the department of practical theology and missiology. In 2002 he was appointed Vice-Rector. He was an internationally-known theologian who advised the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Geneva on several topics. - Sapa