17 November 1921
On 17th November 1921 Professor Richard van der Ross was born in Plumstead, Cape Town. He completed his higher education diploma at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1940 and became a teacher at the Karoo Secondary School in Beaufort West where he met, and later married, his wife in 1946. In 1952 he was appointed as the first principal of Grassy Park Secondary School, and that same year became the first Coloured man to receive a doctorate degree in South Africa. During this period he also became actively involved in the anti-Apartheid protests, after he was forcefully removed from Wynberg, Cape Town, under the Group Areas Act. [i] By 1961 he was one of the leaders of the Coloured "Convention" Movement, which organised a widely representative meeting of Coloureds at Malmesbury near Cape Town to discuss the consequences of the removal of the Coloured representatives from parliament. [ii] In 1965 he was approached to become the first editor of the Cape Herald. Soon after, he became the first Coloured person to occupy a state position when he was appointed as the Assistant Planner of Education at the Department of Coloured Affairs. Following this, Professor van der Ross became an inspector of Education. He became the rector of the University of the Western Cape in 1975 and wanted the campus to reflect the ideals of the broader community, which motivated the universtity’s slogan: “the university of the worker’s class”. [iii] Given his contribution as a writer, politician, journalist and thinker, Professor Van der Ross can easily be considered a prominent and influential South African author and scholar. Endnotes [i] Documentary on Professor Richard Van der Ross, https://vimeo.com/41442217 (17 March 2016). ↵ [ii] Richard Ernest van der Ross, http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/richard-ernest-van-der-ros-0 (17 March 2016). ↵ [iii] Documentary on Professor Richard Van der Ross, https://vimeo.com/41442217 (17 March 2016). ↵

Documentary on Professor Richard Van der Ross [Online]. Available:  https://vimeo.com/41442217 (Accessed 17 March 2016). |Richard Ernest van der Ross. [Online]. Available: https://www.sahistory.org.za/people/richard-ernest-van-der-ros-0 (Accessed 17 March 2016).