In Memoriam Izak Broere
We have been robbed by an invisible enemy of our dear friend Izak, or Sakkie to some. We are sad beyond measure and still staggering at the loss. Izak was a solid human being, honest and sincere, how humans were intended to be. He was kind, he was quirky, he was endearing, he was playful, he was a huggable teddy bear. We remember his joy of life, his infectious smile and his charm. He loved the banter in the tearoom and the remarks that flew from here to there like a ping pong ball. Then the ball reached him and he reacted with the wittiest remark of all, leaving everyone in stitches. Izak was so, so clever, a cleverness that stretched beyond mathematics. He was a master of life skills, of words, of big picture thinking and humble at that. His trade was mathematics, a talent that was written about in the newspaper when he was only twenty and astounded academics at a conference. He studied the hard way, cycling after a day’s work to university to attend evening classes. He crafted his mathematics skills to the highest level and always adored the subject. The logic, the rigour, the process of discovering ideas that few people could appreciate excited him. He loved working on his theorems in his office, wearing a sun visor of all things, apparently to keep the glare off his screen and much to our amusement. Izak’s big
buddy, in and out of the office, was Pottie – dry and cynical and a match for Izak’s wit. They shared a love for motor biking and with that came many precious memories of taking the long road to the Cape, Namibia, Malawi, round the bends, over the passes, stopping for the renowned heavy buns and a beer in Botswana, literally doing hundreds of thousands of kilometers. Izak was a loyal BMW man with no taste for this Harley nonsense. His happy place was his professionally equipped workshop, organized to a tee, where he could reduce a bike to a pile of nuts, bolts and washers and put it back together again. Going on a trip in his 4x4 bakkie was another of his delights, taking out his ever-present handkerchief to wipe a speck of dust from the dashboard and another from the radio and then jokingly “spinning around the gravel bends”. With boyish pleasure he would slap the dash with his hand to edge the bakkie on, as if the bakkie was a race horse. If you came to the aqua aerobics pool you could see the same boyish pleasure in enjoying the water, the movement, the people and especially the music. He particularly enjoyed the fifties and sixties music of the Beatles and Elvis and heartily sang along with “Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes” and “She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah”. What a joy. His more serious musical side led him to become a member of the Capital Singers where he relished in the mass performance. Izak was multi-faceted, easy to hold dear and we have indeed been privileged to know and to love him.
Ansie Harding on behalf of the colleagues from the Mathematics Department, University of Pretoria.
24 August 2020 https://www.up.ac.za/mathematics-and-applied-mathematics