Obituary – Dr Isaac Mabindisa


DISTINGUISHED educator Dr Isaac Kholisile Mabindisa died at the age of 72 on Saturday.

THE TEACHING MAN: Dr Isaac Kholisile Mabindisa, who was very involved in the founding of the Stenden South Africa campus in Port Alfred, died last weekend Picture: SUPPLIED

Mabindisa was born on October 7, 1940. After about 30 years in exile, a large part of which was spent in Canada, Mabindisa returned to South Africa shortly after the advent of democracy in 1994.

Together with former Ndlambe councillor Louise Swanepoel and her partner John Hughes, he was instrumental in founding the Christelijke Hogeschool Nederland (CHN) campus in Port Alfred, the mother university for which was in the Netherlands.

The campus soon changed its name to the Educational Institute for Service Studies (EISS).

Mabindisa was involved on a full-time basis as the community development executive from inception in 2002 until 2008 when he retired. Another name change saw the campus become Stenden South Africa in 2009. Over the past four years, Mabindisa remained active as community development consultant in an advisory capacity.

Fondly remembered as ‘Doc’, he was passionate about education. As former chief administrative officer at Fort Hare University, Mabindisa held a doctorate from the University of Alberta’s department of educational foundations.

He was also coordinator of native studies at Athabasca University in Canada before returning to continue teaching in South Africa. He also served as the registrar at Fort Hare.

Extremely active and passionate about community upliftment, Mabindisa was founder, chairman, leader and member of many such initiatives. He was secretary of the Vuyo Matinyana Fund which was geared at uplifting schools particularly in the Eastern Cape. He was also an educational consultant mainly working on the establishment of the Raymond Mhlaba Fund. These initiatives hold close ties with Stenden South Africa and two dedicated bursaries were launched in his name in 2010.

Mabindisa also served as the first chairman of the Kowie FM board when the station was launched in 2009.

Through his extensive international travels, Mabindisa was able to leave a legacy and wealth of information with Stenden South Africa. He was a man who received a page-long list of academic honours and awards, one of them being the World University Service Scholarship, from the University of Saskatchewan, between 1971 and 1972.

“The Praying Man: The Life and Times of Henry Bird Steinhauer” recently published by Athabasca University Press, is a biography and memoir written by Mabindisa.

Stenden South Africa offered sincere condolences to the Mabindisa family.

Mabindisa will be remembered by staff and colleagues at Stenden South Africa as a kind-hearted man, sincere and passionate for his community.

He is survived by a wife and two children.

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