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It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of Professor Richard van der Ross, a Freeman of the City of Cape Town.

He passed away this morning at the age of 96.

Professor Van der Ross was awarded the Freedom of the City, the highest civic honour, on 5 September 1988.

The Freedom of the City recognises the extraordinary contributions or acts of service to our city and its residents. These include upholding the rights of others, serving their community above themselves, and contributing to nation-building through outstanding service and achievements.

Professor Van der Ross was a recipient of the Freedom of the City along with other great giants including former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.

Van der Ross was a great son of Cape Town who made an immense contribution to the city as a teacher and activist during Apartheid, the first editor of the Cape Herald, and the rector of the University of the Western Cape. Most recently in 2016, he released his book, ‘In Our Own Skins: A Political History of the Coloured People’.

This is a great loss to the city and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his two children, Ben van der Ross and Freda Brock, and his seven grandchildren, family and friends.

They are all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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