TRIBUTES TO JAN DE GROOT
By: Sihle Ndebele
The Durban University of Technology, in partnership with South Africa Aids Foundation, commemorated Jan de Groot’s life on Friday.
The International Candlelight Memorial Day was held at DUT’s Steve Biko Campus.
De Groot was born in 1926 and died this year. In 1993 he was diagnosed with HIV/Aids. He was the oldest man living on antiretrovirals (ARV’s).
He worked for the South Africa Aids Foundation and in various campaigns educating people about the deadly disease.
DUT and South Africa Aids Foundation were the organisers of the memorial event.
Jonathan de Groot, son of the late Jan de Groot, was the guest and he talked fondly of his late father.
“He was my friend and role model. He faced many life challenges but because he was a fighter, he overcame those challenges. What I learnt from him is that in life, giving up is not an option. You must keep on fighting. My father was an inspiration to all the people living with HIV,” young de Groot said.
Jonathan also said that he believes that his father did not die of HIV/Aids but he suspects that he died of old age related diseases.
Debbie Mathew , director at South Africa Aids Foundation, said that the organisation will miss de Groot because he was an inspiration and a role model to them as workers at AFSA South Africa Aids Foundation.
“He left a legacy and he was very dedicated to his job. He loved to educate people about HIV Aids. As AFSA we will miss Mr. De Groot but now it is upon us to carry on. We must implement all the things he taught us,” Mathew said.
Mathew also urged young people to go and test for HIV/Aids because she thinks that the other reason people die of the disease is because they test late when the damage has already been done.