Messages: Remembering Stan

The Collective Leadership Institute team is deeply saddened by the passing of Stanley A. Henkeman.

Stan inspired all of us with his commitment to building fair, democratic, and inclusive societies not only in South Africa, but across the continent. As much as these words are central to IJR’s mission, he embodied them, bringing these words to life every day. Above all, we will remember him as a kind person who was very generous with his knowledge and networks. He connected people as equals, inviting us into intentional conversations. He helped us recognize that we had something meaningful to contribute. We also appreciate his generosity with the glass jar of sweets he had on his desk.

Stan had a special talent for mentoring emerging leaders. He embodied kindness, but also knew when and how to say what needed to be said. He led his life with a view to the future, always calling on and supporting younger generations to take on leadership roles for building sustainable and just societies.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends, IJR and its community, and wider networks of mentees and organizations across the continent and world-wide. The Collective Leadership Institute also poignantly feels Stan’s loss. For us, Stan was not only a Board Member of our South Africa office, but a friend, ubhuti kuthi, and a strategic thought partner. His insights and creativity enriched the work that we get to do as an organization. Stan’s kind spirit, passion for inclusive societies, and inspiring legacy of building bridges will live on in each of us!

Wanga umphefumlo wakho ungalala ngoxolo bhut’ Stan, ugqatso ulufezile.

Lulekwa, Petra, Johannes, and Dominic 

My condolences to the IJR family.

Chris Tarentaal, IJR Ambassador Calitzdorp

My condolences to all at the IJR. I know you were all like a family.

After doing his travel bookings for all those years he really was a client that would always say ‘Thank you’, and would always tell me weekends is family time when you would follow up on bookings over weekend or doing his check ins. A true gentleman he was….’

Nadia Daniels, Phileas Fogg Travel

Wow, ons is so jammer om te verneem van die heengaan van Stan! Ek onthou Stan as n briljante dosent in Bybelkunde. Ek onthou ‘n quote wat Stan op die bord geskryf het met sy naam langsaan een dag; ‘ Just because it is right does not make it popular. And just because it is popular, does not make it right.’ Ek onthou Stan het altyd ‘n interest gehad in atletiek. Op skool wou hy graag kaptein van die atletiek span wees. Hy was nie gekies nie. Een onderwyser was daarteen. “daai laaitie het nie style nie.’ Dit het hom seergemaak. Jare later het hy daai onderwyser weer gesien en hom vertel dat sy woorde seergemaak het. Dit was vir ons as studente ‘n les in hoe ons leerlinge kan affekteer.

Aldrin Scheepers – Oud Student, Bellville Opleidings Kollege

It is with profound sadness that we at Gateway Zimbabwe learned of the loss of your Executive Director at IJR, Stan Henkeman, following COVID-19 complications. We extend our deepest condolences to you and the IJR family during this difficult time of grief and loss. And we grieve with you as you honor the life of a committed warrior of peace. Please pass on to his family and your colleagues our message of appreciation for who Stan was in the community of practice and in contributing the best of humanity.

May his soul rest in power and peace. And may his legacy continue to spur us on to seek out the best in humanity as we build paths to peace and wholeness in our communities.

Ms. Tendisai Chigwedere, Learning Manager

I just received the terrible news about Stan’s passing. I am so, so sorry and in shock. We loved Stan and I cannot believe he has passed. But I know he went to God. He did so much good for so many people and he has left us far, far too soon. Please know that you and everyone at IJR are in our thoughts and prayers during this very sad time. We offer prayers for his family too. We wish you courage and strength.

Christine Bodewes, Portfolio Manager, Building a Vital Church

Please pass the Rural Development Team heartfelt condolences to the family and we as a team, will surely miss Stan’s invaluable contribution to social justice for all South Africans and his objectivity and inputs during our engagements

Douglas Chitepo, Acting Chief Director, Rural Development, Western Cape Department of Agriculture

Stan we crossed paths during Ubuntulab cohort 3. Your wisdom and your humanity were evident. Go well in your next journey.

Professor Ian Goldman, Wits/UCT

In all these years you were the epitome of calmness and reason. Thank you for all that you were and for your contribution to our country. It is a better place because of you. Journey well my friend. You left your mark. May God place comfort in the hearts of your loved ones.

Siddeeq Railou, Ubuntu Lab Institute

For all sorts of reasons, it has been too long since we have spoken. Perhaps the coming year will afford an opening – one hopes so. This afternoon, however, I write with such a heavy heart. I am stricken by the news of Stan’s passing. My thoughts are for his family and all those that he touched, inside and outside the institute. Stan’s warmth and spirit, his deep insight, and his vision – these gifts were ever evident, even in the shortest of conversations and smallest of gestures. Though i did not know him well, i had the very good fortune to learn from him. His are  lessons that will not be forgotten.

At the close of a long and difficult year, now made all the longer and all the more difficult, I send my deepest sympathies to each of you and to everyone at the IJR. If there is anything i can do, please let me know.

With great sadness and unbound sympathy,

And with the hope that you are well and taking care,

Erik Doxtader a former IJR Research Fellow

So sorry to hear this news. Stan walked and ran many races in his lifetime, including the ultra marathon of leading the work of healing and transformation in many contexts through his work at CCR and IJR. May his soul know rest at the end of this courageous journey, and may those who love him be comforted at this time.

Theresa Edlmann

Please accept my deepest condolences IJR Family. It is sad news to hear or even process. Stan’s heart was larger than life – one of reconciliation and selfless service to people. May his legacy will live on.

Allan Ngari

What a great tree that fell today. Stan was a real mensch. One of the nicest people I knew. I mourn with the IJR.

Deon Snyman

It is so so so so sad news .our leader Stan Henkeman who talk from heart to heart has passed away as result of Covid-19 complications .Why Covid take away our beloved brother who is struggling to the world slightly better place to every one to enjoy peace and justice!

Eldoma Dawood, Uganda

I am shocked upon hearing the untimely Departure of Stan Executive Director of IJR may his soul rest in peace 🙏🏻

Abdihakim Ainte

Kindly as you get in touch with Fidi send my regards and let her know that she and her team of IJR and the family of the late Stan are in my deepest heart and thinking about them.

Rose Acindhel, South Sudan

Dear IJR Board  Chairperson, Madam Glenda Wildschut,

I have received with great sorrow the news of the passing away of your Executive Director Stan Henkeman. Stan will be remembered for his devotion to the realization of an equal and just South Africa, his dedicated leadership of the IJR in further deepening the institute’s commitment in building justice and reconciliation in divided communities of South Africa and the African continent. The Embassy of Finland has successfully partnered with IJR for many years, and I have had the privilege to work with Stan in my previous position. We will deeply miss his dedication and wisdom. The Embassy of Finland would like to express its sincere condolences to the IJR board and staff; as well as to Ms. Henkeman, their children and to the entire extended Henkeman family. Our deepest sympathies.

Iina Soiri Iina, Chargé d’Affairs, Embassy of Finland

It is still so unreal to me that Stan is gone and with great sadness that I’m writing this memory of him. I will always remember Stan’s kindness and giving spirit. Whenever he traveled afar, he always came back with something for staff. He would always give a warm reception to guests at the office as if he was welcoming them into his home. Both Stan and Sharon have always showed me kindness and treated me more like family. Stan was always calm under pressure, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him panic, this would rub off on me and really helped me to breath and then conquer whatever challenge there was. He always believed in me and more so, made me believe in myself. It’s thanks to Stan that I owe my career at IJR to for the opportunities he gave me and for taking a chance on me. Gone too soon! I will forever be grateful to have worked alongside him and will miss him dearly.

Stan may you rest in peace.

Simone Naidoo, Executive Assistant  to Stan

What a sad day for all of you at the IJR with the passing of Stan Henkeman. I can’t believe it.’

Faiza, NuweKloof, Community on the West Coast

My innige meegevoel met Stan se heengaan! Sy lewe was exemplary & inspirational!’

Cecyl Esau, Former IJR Employee

Stan did not back down on issues of principle. His integrity, passion and character did not have room for compromise when it came to the fight for dignity of, and within communities. His compassion and generosity to those deemed vulnerable, shown through every time. He has this thing where he gave the same respect to people in all walks of life. He knew the value of being valued and acknowledged, so he treated others the way he would want to be treated. His attitude of, ‘how can I help’ and ‘what can I do’, meant so much to me. Friend, guardian, motivator, brother, mentor, are some of the affections people had for him. I really just wanted for him to win this one race, great athlete that he was… ‘

Anthea Flink, IJR employee

I consider it a privilege and an honour to have known Stan for over thirty years and worked along side him for the last two years. He was a leader, a friend and a brother. A post by his son Joshua on FB just confirmed the calibre of a man that he was, a father to the fatherless, a friend to the friendless and a champion of justice and reconciliation. His life is a testimony of resilience, commitment and determination tempered with compassion and love for the marginalised and downtrodden people of our beloved country. Long may his life live on in all of us who knew him. Thank you to Sharon, Joshua, Luke and Aaron for sharing him with us. The world is indeed the richer for it. May the God of all comfort comfort you both now and in the days to come. Blessings.

Dr Ric Amansure

The DDP management, board and staff have learnt the sudden on the sad passing of Mr Stanley Henkeman. The organization conveys our deepest sympathy to his dear wife, family and friends as well as to the IJR staff team and board of directors.

Mr Henkeman has been a great champion of active citizen participation and social justice in the Western province and South Africa at large. The DDP and IJR share a common vision for our society and nation. It is this shared vision and values that made our two organizations collaborate on some activities that we had an opportunity to co-host.

He will be remembered for his diligence, insightful leadership, generosity and a hospitable personality among other attributes that endeared him to many of us who had an opportunity to work with him over the years.

He will be deeply missed not only by his immediate family and colleagues but all who knew him all over the country and abroad. South Africa has lost a champion for social justice and the whole country is poorer for the loss of one of our sons.

Our God has now called him to rest. Know that all of us at DDP are praying for you and your family at this time and will continue to do so. May his soul rest in eternal peace.


May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Dr Paul Kariuki, Executive Director, Democracy Development Program (DDP)

I hope and pray that you are well during this trying times. The terrible news I just heard really shocked me. I wish to take this moment and pass my condolences and blessings to each and everyone at IJR. Mr Henkeman left his mark, and I am 100% sure that IJR will continue to be the best research engine I have known over the years.God bless all of you. God be with Mr Henkeman’s family, to protect and be a guiding light during this darkness.

Ditumediso Tse Mofuthu!

Mr. Patrick Letsatsi, Assistant Director: Conversations and Advocacy, Directorate: Social Cohesion and Nation Building

Sad news, I have just come a cross the message of the demise of our brother, Elder and senior, Dr. Stan from South Africa, the Executive Director of IJR with who journeyed with us during the tuff time of 2014 in Yei training. May his soul rest in peace!

From Tongo James, South Sudan

In 2014, he shared with us his life story and keep moving a head instead of the challenges .his resilience was inspiration to all of 2016,he introduced an exercises game on how people react to conflict differently. His story still fresh in my mind. That’s the way of life. Please keep strong and let me know if you wanted to talk to me.

One of my favourite poets, Siegfried Sassoon wrote the following, which I applies to Stan.

I know that he is lost among the stars,
And may return no more but in their light.

Thus, when I find new loveliness to praise,
And things long-known shine out in sudden grace,
Then will I think: ‘He moves before me now.’
So he will never come but in delight.

Felicity Harrison, HOD Sustained Dialogue at IJR

Stan is for me one of the best examples of a life in service of a just peace. It lived in his smile and his unfailing goodwill. His passing leaves us so much poorer …

From Andries Odendaal

Sending condolences strength and thoughts to the family and to IJR, Stan was someone with a warm smile who found poetic words in very difficult situations. I won’t forget how he told us the story of the moment when as a youngster instead of running from the Police he was one of the ones who turned and march towards them with a sense of the power of justice. I also recall his recent presence in the ubuntu lab and the ability to question the discourses commonly upheld.

From Undine Whande, South Africa

Stan was a warrior for justice. He used every opportunity offered to him to fight for the downtrodden, but even more, to build bridges in our unequal society and to create opportunities for reconciliation between all races. He was always available to speak to our listeners on Radio Islam International, even at short notice or at odd hours. And he did this to share his passion for the people of this country and his believe that justice for all would aid in the reconciliation of a nation that suffered so much. As a news and actuality radio producer, I am saddened that his family lost a husband and father, but just as sad for the loss to the country of a man of principle who never deviated from his ethics or morals. R.I.P. Stan, your legacy is untarnished. Hesley Harmse, award-winning radio journalist, news and actuality producer.

Hesley, Radio Islam

Videos & Vocal Tributes