Aug 04

Johan Swartz – A Tribute

Dr. Johan Swartz, aged 65, died at the Highway Hospice, on Saturday, June 30 2012. I consider myself honoured to have known him as a mentor and friend.

He was a man of great integrity and a renowned educator and  researcher in the field of Cognitive Science – the study of human intelligence and the enhancement of learning. I can think of no better way to pay tribute  to his memory than to publish a poem that he penned in his last days. (Grateful thanks for the permission to do so is due to his son Deon)


In gratitude to Jesus Christ Johan Swartz
I wonder when I finally knew (When mist had cleared, and sun shone through) The fallacy of youthful dreams Belief in things that prove untrue: Pursuit of wealth, of trivial pleasure-- Of artifice and worthless treasure. I wonder was it my decision To consciously transform my vision To surgically expose my heart To God’s most merciful incision-- So cocooned worms could crystallize Into a blaze of butterflies. I wonder was it THOUGHT alone That made me question the unknown- Or insight, brought about by chance The confluence of circumstance? How was it that I found the way From stumbling night to brilliant day? I had no great Epiphany That opened up my eyes to see. I plodded on in unconcern And felt no need for piety. Though justified to close the door Instead God chose to love me more. I know NOW it was not MY doing That kept God patiently pursuing By gradual and mysterious ways To change my curses into praise: His Spirit, gently guiding me: From conflict to tranquillity. I wonder now—safe in His clasp- WHEN, by His grace, He made me GRASP That tale of brutal savagery Of sacrifice on Calvary- That MY OWN suffering He’d employ To change despair into such JOY.
[warning]Read a recent outspoken article of his[/warning]


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  1. Dave

    Very nice tribute to your friend – I have lost several people close to me recently – I try to write a “post” about their lives and share them with their family and friends of my memories of them. Sometimes they have received good comments as my memories sometimes trigger good memories for them also. Our memories keep them alive for us in our minds Sorry for youf loss.


  2. Roy Anderson

    As a very young boy I remember Johan as a very studious young man. Later he was my English lecturer at the PE Teachers’ College. My wife and I used to babysit for him as students quite often at his Walmer home. A wonderful lecturer that really inspired me to become an English teacher. Shocked to hear that he has passed on.

  3. Gerard

    Dr. Johan was my tutor within an educational skills development program, and to use the term genius to describe him, is a huge understatement. A truly remarkable man with the rare combination of intelligence and humour.

  4. Ashvir Dalu

    I was part of his “Gifted Learner Programme” back in 2005. All I can truly say is, he was one gift of a man. Intelligent, aspiring & inspirational.

  5. Teia

    So sad to hear of his passing, am grateful to have been one of his pupils! RIP Johan.

  6. ~Ed

    Farewell Johan

    You will always be remembered by me as well as your family, countless friends, associates, co-workers and pupils.
    We shall meet again.


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