It was my first day at the university in New Zealand. Like all other international students, I was a lot happy a little confused! It was a big day in my life, I was 12,000 km away from home, I had always dreamt of this day and finally, I was living it. And from a distance, I could see a human figure about 6 ft. tall, silver hair and very well dressed. Little did I know you were going to be my professor soon.
So our first interaction was such, I knew I would learn a great deal from you. Soon you became a friend, philosopher and a guide to me. Whether it was about the assignments or talking to you about missing my parents, you always had something wise to add to my story. Professor, you were like this encyclopedia of life, I only had to ask you a question and you were always ready with the answers.
I distinctly remember the day, when I was marked for the first assignment I had handed over to you. You had 5 assignments on the table and the rest in your signature style briefcase. When asked about why those 5 assignments are on the table, you replied very casually, “oh these people have failed”. And I prayed hard for not to be in those 5, unfortunately when you started distributing those assignments I was the second one to receive it.
I was so shattered and ashamed of myself for failing the test. I just did not want to open the pages and then you spoke again, “don’t you want to see how you have performed”? I turned to the last page and saw your remarks. “Excellent, well done”, was what you had scribbled in a handwriting only you could read.
That was the day when you taught me to excel and never to look back. You have been a guiding light to many others like me. I am sure today a lot of your students are sad for we all know what a loss it is. Your absence will be hard felt, Andries. The only solace I have is, you are in a better place.
May you rest in peace. You will never be forgotten.