On Thursday 7 July 2011 we lost a beloved friend. Cobus Coetzee sadly drowned while on holiday with his family and friends. As a sport journalist Cobus was a much valued member of the Perdeby team. Actually, Perdeby is a family and losing Cobus is like losing a brother. He was our James Bond, our handyman, the smile you need at the end of a bad day and the type of man you only read about in fairy tales.
When a person close to our hearts is suddenly lost we often ask ourselves why. Why him? Why now? I think I might know the answer. He was too good for us. We couldn’t keep him.
We miss you.
In die laaste artikel wat ek van Cobus Coetzee gelees het, skryf hy oor die Foekoesjima-kernramp en die aardbewing wat daartoe gelei het. “Vir baie Japannese het die 11de Maart 2011 soos `n gewone Vrydagoggend begin,” skryf hy. Toe ek van Cobus se dood gehoor het, was hierdie intro van sy artikel die eerste ding waaraan ek gedink het. Hoe daardie laaste dag by die see seker vir hom ook soos enige ander dag verloop het.
Ek kan ook nie ophou dink aan die laaste keer wat ek hom gesien het: toe hy en sy klasmaats, Theuns en Roux, in my kantoor gestaan het; verlig dat hul TV-dokumentêr afgehandel is en opgewonde oor die vakansie. Cobus was nie eers bekommerd oor sy punte nie. Hy het gesê hy gaan nie daaraan dink tot hy terug is in Pretoria nie. Hy kon met `n geruste hart gaan vakansie hou: hy het uitstekend gevaar.
Soos ek hierdie skryf, kyk ek weer na daardie artikel. In die intro haal hy Marié Curie aan wanneer hy skryf oor die inwoners van Japan wat “niks in die lewe gevrees nie, maar dit net probeer verstaan (het)”. Wanneer ek dink aan die rustigheid en stil sin vir humor wat Cobus in `n klein klas-omgewing uitgestraal het , is ek seker hy het die lewe redelik goed verstaan.
Marenet Jordaan, UP joernalistiek dosent
Cobus Coetzee was a fine young man with a great future ahead of him. We are very shocked to hear of his untimely death. Cobus was quietly confident with strong determination and excelled in the sport of wrestling at national level. He was always willing to assist where needed in arranging events and took responsibility in his role as student respresentative of TuksWrestling. He actively participated in coaching at the wrestling club, ploughing back his skills among the young wrestlers of the club. We mourn his tragic death. He will be sadly missed by his friends and peers at the club.
We offer our sincere condolences to his family and in particular his father Frederick and mother Myrina and sister Christelle. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this extremely difficult time.
Jy het my hart gestrek, my gees versterk. En al voel ek oorweldig deur pyn, weet ek dat jou glimlag nou en vir altyd oor ons almal sal skyn. Jy’t `n plek in ons harte wat niemand kan belemmer. Vir jou Cobus, sal ons die see leeg skep met `n emmer.
Het ek ooit vir jou gesê jy is my heel gunsteling mens.
Charlotte Keuris, Sport Redakteur
Cobus, who was generous, who was sincere, who was good and kind and strong, who was, without any doubt, the best person I knew, who lived fully and will be missed dearly, and be forever in our hearts.
Beyers de Vos, Editor
Jy was `n wonderlike voorbeeld en `n positiewe motivering vir almal met wie jy in aanraking gekom het. Wat `n ongelooflike voorreg om jou te kon ken. Die harsteer ding is nie dat jy weg is nie – want ek weet jy’s reguit boontoe – maar dat hierdie wêreld van ons `n stukkie hoop verloor het. Jy’t die strewe in mense verwesenlik om beter te wees as wat hulle is. Ek gaan jou mis.
Turicia Vorster, voormalige Redakteur
Al wat oor is om te sê is dankie. Dankie vir die nalatenskap wat jy gelos het in hierdie nuuskantoor. Dankie vir jou verbintenis tot jou werk en vriende hier by Perdeby. Dankie vir jou bereidwilligheid om altyd te help en te luister. Ons is vandag armer sonder jou maar ryker deur dit wat jy agterlaat. Jy sal gemis word.
Carel Willemse, Hoofredakteur
Cobus, jou sprankelende persoonlikheid sal my altyd bybly. Dit was nie nodig om baie tyd saam met jou te spandeer om God se hart in jou raak te sien nie. Jou opregtheid, positiwiteit en eerlikheid is `n rare kombinasie. Dankie dat jy ons almal inspireer. Jy los `n groot gaping in my hart vriend. Tot wedersiens. Al my liefde.
Marissa Gravett, sub-editor
Cobus, you were one of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the fortune to meet. You were everyone’s best friend – so genuine and kind, with a maturity that is far beyond most people. You were taken so suddenly and unfairly. A part of me still wishes this was some cruel joke. I know you would have been a great journalist, because you were already a great man. I love and miss you.
Meagan Dill, Entertainment Editor
Cobus was an amazing person who had this aura that infected people with a goodness that made you want to be around him. He was someone you could always count on even if he had other responsibilities to tend to. He was that person anyone would consider themselves lucky to have as a friend. He was not afraid to live his life, and even though he is already being missed, he is just busy taking on another adventure.
Mari de Cock, Sport journalist
Two weeks after he joined Perdeby, Cobus told me that he already loved us like he did his own family. He meant it with all his heart and he showed it by always being “a friend sticking closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) He brightened every day with his laughter and smiles and was the most wonderful friend anyone could ever ask for. There just aren’t enough words … Love and miss you always.
Hayley Tetley, Copy Editor
Cobus, thank you for being the guy that, when we looked terrified that layout would never finish, came in smiling, reassuring us that we can do it. Thank you for putting up with our constant drama, shouting and fighting. Thank you for the Monday you told me being an editor is easy, and quitting with me four days later. Thank you for sitting under the table with me, and refusing to come out. Thank you for looking like James Bond at the 21st, and expertly opening the wine. Thank you for being you. You will be missed.
Desré Barnard, Visuals Editor
Cobus touched the lives of everyone he came into contact with. He was a well respected gentleman and a true friend to me and always managed to put a smile on the faces of people. Cobus would go to the ends of the earth to help a friend in need, as he did many times for me. His untimely death came as a shock to everyone because it was simply not his time to go, he still had so much of himself to give to people and to the field of journalism. Cobus may be gone, but his memories will not be forgotten.
Kevin van der List, Sport journalist
You were a more decent man than most I knew, always improving yourself for reasons known only to God and you. I will miss you my friend.
Matt Milton, Sport journalist
Thank you for being a part of my life. It was an honour to be a part of yours. See you again, my friend.
Kirsti Buick, Entertainment journalist
You’ll never really find those perfect words, something more than just, goodbye. It’s hard to remember the good times when there’s just so much heartache, And they deserve more than that, They deserve more than just one single moment of sadness… But don’t ever let go of that smile, Hold on forever, because that’s our final dedication.”
JP Nathrass, photographer and layout designer
Vriendelik, behulpsaam, groothartig, liefdevol, hardwerkend, bereidwillig en `n baie goeie vriend. Dit is net `n paar woorde wat die wonderlike mens wat jy was beskryf. Die kantoor voel leeg en eensaam sonder jou glimlag, jou grappies … sonder jou. Ek gaan jou vreeslik mis. Ons gaan jou almal baie mis.
Marié van Wyk, Features Redakteur
If you were to measure a person’s impact on your life by how conspicuous their absence is, then it is clear that Cobus was a great influence on all of us here at Perdeby. He will be remembered not only as a talented journalist, but as a man whose integrity, kindness and sincerity should be aspired to. The time we had with him was very much a blessing, and I am truly thankful for the fact that I had the opportunity to become friends with him.
Hickley Hamman, Layout Editor
Die beste ding wat ek altyd van Cobus sal onthou is dat ek hom nooit met `n frons gesien het nie. Hy was altyd gaaf en ordentlik met almal. Cobus, dankie vir al die goeie tye, my vriend.
Theuns van Rhyn, Nuus joernalis
So passievolle en intelligente joernalis soos jy is skaars. En dan is jy nog `n man met respek vir die dames. Sal jou insette en teenwoordigheid in die klas mis.
Eljana de Beer, joernalistiek student