Athlone resident, veteran educationist, virtuoso and philanthropist, Brian Eagon Forbes, has died in Cape Town at the age of 68.
He was born as the middle child of Elizabeth and the well-known Cape Times journalist, Joe Forbes, on June 30 1947.
Brian grew up in District Six, and later in Eden Road, Walmer Estate.
He was involved in the Eon group as a child, attending speech-and-drama classes, he played the violin and was a member of the Cape Town Boys’ Choir. He loved singing and music until his dying day.
He attended Harold Cressy High School, where he matriculated and then studied music and mathematics at UCT, but later decided to study engineering.
He met Magdalene Cupido in 1974, and, after a whirlwind courtship, they married on December 16 1976 in the Methodist Church, in Cape Town.
He has been involved in the Methodist Church his whole life – in youth work in his earlier years, the men’s group, choirs and society steward.
He was a mentor and father figure to many, as he had a real passion for young people and helping them achieve their potential in all areas of life.
He joined what is now known as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 1990 as a civil engineering lecturer for eight years, and served two years as head of department in that department. In 2000, he was appointed as director of Co-operative Education and was responsible for curriculum quality management and industry liaison for work integrated learning programmes for the next eight years.
From 2009 to 2010, he was acting chief executive officer for the Centre of Extended Learning in promoting collaborative partnerships between higher education, Further Education and Training (FET) colleges and industry.
Brian was a board member and former executive officer of the Southern African Society for Co-operative Education (SASCE) and served on the council of False Bay FET College.
He facilitated capacity building and professional development initiatives in support of skills development through public-private partnerships in creating work placement opportunities for pupils to enhance graduate attributes and employability.
Brian also served as deputy chairperson on the False Bay Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College Council.
Once he started lecturing, he developed a passion for work integrated learning and co-operative education and completed a Master’s degree in that field.
In his post official retirement age, he continued to consult and work in his field of expertise, serving on SASCE.
He was passionate about his involvement with the District Six Reference Group, representing claimants in the District Six land restitution process.
The District Six Reference Group has the following to say about Brian: “Brian worked tirelessly and made many personal sacrifices to address the many complex challenges to accelerate the return of all claimants. He demonstrated sterling leadership and contributed significantly to place the District Six Reference Group on a path of constructive and meaningful engagement with government to deal with the return of the claimants in a holistic manner. He served as an exemplary role model for the community he represented and fought bravely against great odds in the best interest of the District Six claimants.
“We will always remember you with much love and gratitude for your leadership and fearlessness to tackle issues head-on.”
Brian died on Saturday May 28. He is survived by his wife, Magda, children, Dalene, Liezl and Graham, and grandchildren, Charlot and Sebastian.