Prof Tyobeka was a dedicated scientist, academic and scholar who has left deep tracks in the field of higher education and research, technology and innovation, especially in Southern Africa. He had served as Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry before becoming the Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Registrar of Wits Technikon, then Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Administration and External Relations at the University of Johannesburg, whereafter he became the first Vice-Chancellor of the ‘new’ Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
Prof Tyobeka played key roles in the evolution of higher education globally, particularly during the transformation of Technikons to Universities of Technology (2005) and subsequently the Polytechnic of Namibia to the Namibia University of Science and Technology in 2015.
“He was a trailblazer in education, as a student and as an academic and scholar. Notably, he was among the top 10 students in the national Standard 8 examinations, obtained First Class pass in Joint Matriculation Board Examination and a distinction in his Honours degree (Biochemistry). He was the first black person to obtain a Master’s and Doctorate from a South African university,” said Dr Tjivikua.
Prof Tyobeka was always friendly, patient, humble, considerate, helpful and full of integrity. He was a good listener and ‘silent operator,’ and was very eloquent and effective in driving his point home. He taught us the value of silence and reflection, of integrity and humility. “Errol was simply everyone’s friend. We thank him for his selfless dedication and fine contribution to science and education in Namibia, in his home country South Africa and all over the world. We shall miss him sorely and wish his family the strength the endure this deep sense of loss and pain,” added Dr Tjivikua.