But for Amanda Kotze, those tears of joy was mingled with the pain of loss, as she collected a Master’s degree on behalf of her 26-year-old son, Gerbrandt Kotze, who died of colon cancer earlier this year.
Gerbrandt was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, which spread to his liver in 2017 and he received chemotherapy and underwent operations while completing his thesis for his Master’s in science.
Kotze said he never complained once about his illness as he studied under the guidance of Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus of the RME-Nano Research Group in Inorganic Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science.
“He was 26 years old and passed away four days before his 27th birthday, which was on May 28. He never complained about his illness and lived everyday with joy in his heart.
“Two weeks after he passed on, the exam results came from the external department and it said he completed his Master’s degree. He received therapy while writing his exams and needed more rest than usual,” said Kotze.
She said her family was very sad about their loss, but proud of Gerbrandt, who was a loving son and brother, cherished by many and went out of his way to assist those in need.
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said Gerbrandt would be remembered as a person who loved people, especially young people, and he was loved for his compassion.
“For the Kotzes, their son lives on in their memories and say that they will always celebrate his life which was not filled with any complaints and sadness, but echoed hope, perseverance, commitment and a belief in Jesus Christ.”@IamAthinaMay