The late Pik Botha with Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. File Photo: IOL
The late Pik Botha with Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. File Photo: IOL
This April 19, 1994 file photo shows in the front row; Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, left, President FW de Klerk, middle, and ANC President Nelson Mandela, right, exchanging words at a news conference, while in the back row at centre South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha looks over them, in Pretoria. Botha, the last foreign minister of South Africa's apartheid era and a contradictory figure who staunchly defended white minority rule but eventually recognised that change was inevitable, died on Friday, October 12, 2018 at age 86. Next to Botha, second from right is Roelf Meyer, chief government negotiator, and ANC's then Secretary-General Cyril Ramaphosa, right. File Photo: AP
This April 19, 1994 file photo shows in the front row; Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, left, President FW de Klerk, middle, and ANC President Nelson Mandela, right, exchanging words at a news conference, while in the back row at centre South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha looks over them, in Pretoria. Botha, the last foreign minister of South Africa's apartheid era and a contradictory figure who staunchly defended white minority rule but eventually recognised that change was inevitable, died on Friday, October 12, 2018 at age 86. Next to Botha, second from right is Roelf Meyer, chief government negotiator, and ANC's then Secretary-General Cyril Ramaphosa, right. File Photo: AP
David Phosoko and Piet Botha remember Pik Botha at the family home in Akasia north of Pretoria. Photo: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
David Phosoko and Piet Botha remember Pik Botha at the family home in Akasia north of Pretoria. Photo: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Former South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha takes an oath before testifying at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in October 1997. File Photo: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters
Former South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha takes an oath before testifying at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in October 1997. File Photo: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters
Roelof Botha, Pik's grandson. Photo: Supplied
Roelof Botha, Pik's grandson. Photo: Supplied
Dr Roelof Botha, Pik's son. Photo: Supplied
Dr Roelof Botha, Pik's son. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – I am honoured to have known the late Mr Pik Botha, his family and his two sons, Roelof Botha, an award-winning economist and my professor in economics at the University of Pretoria, and Piet Botha, a globally recognised musician, known as “Jack Hammer”.

I remember today how proud the late Pik Botha was about his grandson, he called him, “Roelfie”, when I interviewed him some years ago at his house in Pretoria, just behind the Union Buildings, where he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time. Roelof Botha, Pik’s grandson, today is a billionaire. “This child is bright, and smart, he’s got a great future, I am so proud of him”, Pik said to me many years ago. “Roelfie” was still in high school at the time. 

Roelfie, known globally today as Roelof Frederik Botha, became a venture capitalist and company director of many companies. By training, he is a qualified actuary. Botha is a partner at Sequoia Capital and currently sits on the boards of Jawbone, Eventbrite, Evernote, Mahalo, Natera, Nimbula, Square, Tokbox, Tumblr, Weebly, Unity, Whisper and Xoom. 

WIKIPEDIA: “Botha earned a BSc in Actuarial Science, Economics, and Statistics from the University of Cape Town, graduating in 1996 with the highest GPA in the history of the program. Botha worked as a business analyst at McKinsey & Co., Johannesburg, from August 1996 through June 1998. He then moved to the United States, where he attended the Stanford University Graduate School of Business from 1998 through 2000 and received an MBA, where he was the Henry Ford II Scholar as Stanford GSB valedictorian.”

In 2000, prior to his graduation from Stanford, Botha became director of corporate development for PayPal. He moved on to vice-president of finance and was named chief financial officer in September 2001. Botha was 28 when PayPal went public in February 2002. The company was bought by eBay in October 2002. Botha left to join Sequoia Capital in January 2003. 

At Sequoia, Botha oversaw the firm’s investment in YouTube, Instagram, and Square, among others. He also helped to plan the acquisition of Xoom by PayPal. In 2017, Botha took over lead responsibility for Sequoia’s US operations from Jim Goetz. 

Roelfie, Oupa Pik, and South Africa, is proud of you. I salute Minister Pik Botha today. May his spirit live forever.

BUSINESS REPORT EXECUTIVE EDITOR