Man of science and faith goes home

Alfred Tsipa: 20/8/1961 – 22/7/2017

ALFRED Tsipa was born in Mamelodi, Gauteng in 1961, the youngest in a family of five.

Despite struggling through the worst period of apartheid education, he completed his matric with science and maths, which were mostly self-taught.

He obtained his BSc Honours degree in physics from the University of Zululand and worked there as a lecturer and laboratory assistant, helping in the newly opened Unizul Science Centre (USC).

Tsipa then lectured physics at Vista University before returning to take up the post of Manager at USC in April 1994, alongside Derek Fish, the USC Director.

Vusani Myeni comments on his passing: ‘We have lost one of the few scientists who dedicated his life reaching out to the rural communities teaching science. I am one of the students who benefited from that and am now a professional nurse working at a clinic.’

‘Fish and Tsips’ became a formidable duo in science education, inspiring a love of science in almost 400 000 children through the work of the Centre over the past 15 years.

During that time they were instrumental in forming SAASTEC (the Southern African Association of Science & Technology Centres) and Tsipa served as SAASTEC President for two two-year terms.

In addition, Tsipa represented Africa on the world SC body and succeeded in attracting the SC World Congress to South African shores in 2011.

Walter Staveloz, International Relations Director for the world SC body said: ‘In the history of the SC world congresses, Tsipa has been the voice of Africa for a long time.’

Tributes to Tsipa have poured in from around the world in recognition of his worldwide influence.

Tsipa left USC for five years in 2009 to establish and run the Osizweni SC in Secunda, returning to USC in late 2014.

In addition to his standing in science education, Tsipa was founding general secretary of the Truevine family of churches and established and pastored churches in uMhlathuze and in Nelspruit.

He was a sought after Christian speaker and author of two books on faith (and a few science textbooks).

Tsipa is survived by his wife Sally and three grown-up children.

His son Lemogang, star of the movie ‘Beyond the river’, epitomises Tsipa’s ability to touch people’s lives and communicate deep truths.

Tsipa passed away on Saturday from complications following a heart attack.

He will be deeply missed by his family, church, the University of Zululand and USC.

• The funeral service will be held on Saturday at 9am at the University of Zululand’s King Bhekuzulu Hall.

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  AUTHOR
Derek Fish

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