Justice Through Legal Education

The passing of Professor Schalk Meyer

oom-schalck

Dear colleagues and friends
 
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the untimely passing this morning of Professor Schalk Meyer, affectionately known to us as "Oom Schalk". He served on the executive committee of the Association of University Law Clinics (AULAI), now known as the South African Universities Law Clinics Association (SAULCA), since 1993.
 
For the past number of years he was a co-opted member of the SAULCA executive committee. His institutional memory and vast experience were indispensable to so many consecutive SAULCA executive committees.
 
He served as the President of SAULCA for four years.  
 
One of the leading exponents of law clinics and the Clinical Legal Education movement in South Africa, and a mentor to so many of us, Oom Schalk was an admitted attorney with 35 years' experience. 
 
Since 2000, he served as the Programme Manager of the  Association of University Law Clinics Trust (the AULAI Trust). During his lifetime he raised millions of rands from international donors to sustain Community-based Advice Offices (CAO's), all over South Africa, but also to support the promotion and activities of University Law Clinics. These advice offices also recently, during lockdown, became involved in the SAHRC Monitor Programme and humanitarian activities as such. The CAO's are also involved as far as access to justice on Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse matters are concerned.
 
Due to his efforts, the funding for our SAULCA workshops came from this source. He was also very involved with the paralegal movement in South Africa, who relied heavily on his advice and expertees.
 
His death is especially sad for the Law Clinic of the North-West University, where he served as Director for 25 years.
 
On behalf of SAULCA and all in the CLE community, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Ina, his whole family, colleagues that he worked with to advance CLE his colleagues at the NWU and especially at the the NWU Law Clinic, and his many, many friends.
 
We have lost a great man and a friend. How can we ever replace him? 
 
Rest in peace, Oom Schalk.

In memory of Oom Schalk

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   Professor Schalk Meyer was a very good friend of Legal Aid South Africa. His passion for ensuring access to justice for all was inspiring. We worked very closely with him during the early 2000s when we converted a number of University Legal Aid offices to become fully-fledged Justice Centres run by the Legal Aid Board, as it was then known. Schalk was a giant in the access to justice movement, where we partnered on a number of projects. He greatly assisted Legal Aid SA with our paralegal initiative by developing customised training programmes which he personally conducted in our various regions. Schalk is also remembered as a great teacher, with the kind of legal mind that people wanted to be around because they knew they would leave enriched. He was adept at helping people to grow and broaden their minds, while remaining kind and brandishing his funny wit. Oom Schalk will be sorely missed and fondly remembered for his passion for justice, the positive impact he had on so many people, as well as his ever-present pipe.    
Legal Aid South Africa
May 19, 2020 08:37:59 AM
   My deepest condolences to the family of Professor Schalk Meyer with whom I worked while I was at LHR. This unassuming man made a massive contribution to the development of the paralegal movement. His unassuming personality masked the very hard work he was engaged in. Rest in peace as your contribution has not been forgotten, especially the inspiration you gave to all of us.   
Vinodh Jaichand
May 07, 2020 04:15:04 PM
   It is indeed with great sadness to witness the sudden passing of our colleague, mentor & leader, but it is indeed so that everything that lives has a limited time to find it's expression, Mr Schalk indeed never put his life to waste but has left a living legacy to all through clinical legal education, he has set an example for us to emulate. We wish his family to have comfort, solace & consolation during this trying times but for them to remember it is a, new chapter in their lives where they will no more be with him physical but his Great soul & memories shall remain a great part of their lives. A, good leader is one who teaches others to stand on their own and be independent.. Personally I had few encounters with him, a, man who was forever willing to listen ???? to advise & give same... I used to say to my Director Mr Simon, but Mr Schalk smokes alot hei... This is not right... But I guess he found calm in his pipe. May he rest well.    
Samson
May 07, 2020 07:55:02 AM
   Oom Schalk will be missed for the guiding light that he was. I met oom Schalk for the first time in 1995 when I worked with the Paralegal Movement and he was with Aulai. Then more recently three years ago when I met him again at a SAULCA conference. I thus asked Oom Schalk if I could interview him - for his institutional knowledge - and video tape the interview. He told me to stop being silly. I'm sorry that I was not more silly and insist on that interview and video tape. We will now, not only miss an institutional giant and his pipe but also miss a chunk of our lives. Luckily, his legacy and passion for Access to Justice, will live on. We owe him that much at the very least.   
matilda smith
May 06, 2020 10:49:08 AM
   On behalf of the University of Pretoria Law Clinic
Oom Schalk, as he was fondly known, was a gentle giant with a very kind heart.He had a passion to secure legal assistance to indigent and marginalised people of the community. He made an immense contribution and left an indelible footprint wherever he went. His contribution will live on!
On a more personal note, he reminded me of the person in the poem of Jan F E Cilliers:
"Stil,broers,
daar gaan n man verby,
hy groet,
en dis verlaas,
Daar's nog maar een soos hy;
bekyk hom goed."

Mev Meyer en familie, ons innige simpatie met u groot verlies.Ons bede is dat ons Hemelse Vader self u trane sal afdroog en u sal vertroos, versterk en bemoedig op die pad vorentoe.    
Piet Breedt
May 05, 2020 09:33:34 PM
   To the family, friends and colleagues of Schalk please receive our heartfelt condolences. May Schalk’s soul rest in eternal peace. Lindi Coetzee and everyone else from Street Law SA   
Street Law South Africa
May 05, 2020 02:04:56 PM
   In my fond reflection of this remarkably magnanimous soul my mind drifts back to 2009, being my first Aulai conference and more importantly my introduction to Oom Schalk at the ‘Stage Coach’. It would be this meeting that would essentially constitute the catalyst of my clinical career and a moment that we would both reflect on, even as recent as March 2020.

Little did I realize the remarkable impact that Oom Schalk would have on my career development and my mind-set, through our many interactions and specifically those conversations and drives between SAULCA exec meetings, which conversations I will now reflect upon with pride and gratitude.

To me Oom Schalk’s passing is a loss that can never be adequately captured in words, leaving a void that can never be filled but instead leaving me to acknowledge that he had impacted my life more than I knew.

My deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and NWU Potch Law clinic colleagues

Oom Schalk, dankie vie alles dat U’ het vir my gedoen, maar nou is dit is tyd om te rus. Nou kan U’ rus met koffie en U se pyp want jy verdien dit, en toelyk op die nalatenskap wat U’ nagelaat het.

Totsiens my Prof Oom Schalk.
   
Daven Dass
May 04, 2020 12:32:03 PM
   We are very saddened to hear of your loss. Please accept our sincerest condolences. He was a kind, respected and very influential person. He will be missed greatly. We are thinking of you during this challenging time.   
SU Law Clinic
May 04, 2020 10:55:24 AM
   It is difficult to imagine life, and especially SA law clinics, without such a wonderful colleague and dear friend, with a heart of pure gold. A giant of the movement in so many ways… we can only weep in solidarity together at his passing.

Words are so inadequate, but are all we have, especially as it is sadly not possible for so many of us to be at Schalk's funeral and to see his family and close colleagues in person. We will be with you all in spirit.

Thank you Schalk, for touching our lives so deeply, you have left your mark forever.   
Jonathan Campbell
May 04, 2020 10:48:10 AM
   It was a privillege to have known Oom Schalk. we always had long chats each time i called for guidance, he was a real gentleman and always available to help.
You have done your part, especially for the poor and I hope you fullfilled your perpose for being the pillar for access to justice.
TSAMAYA HANTLE OOM.
May your family be consoled by the fact that you were a father to all of us.   
Phuti Thokolo
May 04, 2020 10:43:11 AM
   Deepest sympathies with the family and friends of Schalk may God be with you during this period of mourning.    
Ela gandhi
May 03, 2020 06:58:22 PM
   Dear Ina and Family
Dear Colleagues at the North West (Potch)

My diepste en innige simpatie. Mag al hierdie herinneringe en huldebetygings aan die "Grote" julle ietwatondersteun en krag gee.
Oom Schalk, as he was fondly known by all, including his contemporaries, was a big person with a booming voice , a big personality, a big leader-but with a tender heart
His contribution to the growth of individual law clinics and of the clincial movement, his alteuistic drive and unerring efforts to fundraise, build networks, his ways of engendering confidence amongst international and national donors, his managerial and highly astute administrative skills - all these.. are and will probably remain unique, unprecedented and unmatched   
Jobst Bodenstein
May 03, 2020 05:46:09 PM
   We have indeed lost a great warrior for the clinical legal movement and the paralegal sector. His momentous contribution will forever be cherished.

Deep and heartfelt Condolences to the Meyer family. May God grant them strength and courage during this challenging time.

   
Chaka Mokhudu
May 03, 2020 03:13:36 PM
   Dear family of Oom Schalk,

I have met Oom Schalk for the first time in 2003 and, since then, he has touched me life in a meaningful way. He was a great man, always there to support others and always available when you wanted to talk. Oom Schalk, I really mourn your passing. I shall never forget you. To the family, please accept my heartfelt condolences. May you find peace during this very sad period.

Rest in peace, Oom Schalk. You will always live in our hearts.   
Marc Welgemoed
May 03, 2020 12:27:22 PM
   To Mrs Meyer and family, we mourn with you and share your pain the loss of such an influential figure of the society. His contribution to access to justice is immeasurable.
May his soul rest in peace. Vela from Legal Aid SA, KZN   
Vela Mdaka
May 03, 2020 10:47:59 AM
   Dear Schalk

It with great sadness that I learnt of your passing. It has been an honour and a privilege to have known and worked with you over many years in both South Africa and elsewhere. You were always very humble and modest in the way that you went about your valuable work for the law clinics and paralegal movement in our country. You have laid a solid foundation for the AULAI Trust in which I have worked with you for many years. You have left giant shoes to be filled and we can honour you best by ensuring that the Trust endures and carries on its work in the manner that you established over the years.
It is always very painful for those of us who have been left behind after a great friend and colleague has passed on.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to your wife Ina, the rest of your family, your NWU colleagues - and indeed the entire clinical movement in South Africa.

Go in peace my friend - until we meet again.

David   
David McQuoid-Maso
May 03, 2020 10:05:01 AM
   Die heengaan van oom Schalk het my baie hartseer vanoggend.Before I assumed my duties as UFS Law Clinic Director in 1999, I visited oom Schalk in Potch to get an idea of the job that was at hand.Ever since that day, and beyond my position of Clinic Director, oom Schalk has been a guiding light, colleague and friend. His humility and generosity of spirit, will always be with us. To Ina and the children: find comfort that oom Schalk fulfilled his earthly role was grace and kindness. I pray for you. God bless, Neels Swanepoel.   
Neels Swanepoel
May 03, 2020 09:41:26 AM
   Dear Mrs Ina Meyer & the Meyer Family,

We mourn with you today, the loss of a giant in the clinical movement, a champion of the advice office community, and a dear friend, Schalk. We also celebrate a life well-lived, serving the people of South Africa to the very end.

May his soul rest in peace, and may you find comfort, solace and peace at this difficult time.

Yousuf Vawda, Trustee AULAI Trust.   
Yousuf Vawda
May 03, 2020 05:07:14 AM
   It is with great sadness and a great sense of loss that we say goodbye to one the stalwarts of the clinical legal education movement.
We thank you for your immense efforts, expertise and irreplaceable experience. Oom Schalk May you Rest In Peace and your soul rise in Glory. Natasha Naidoo Director UJ Law Clinic on behalf of the staff of the Uj law clinic   
Oom Schalk
May 02, 2020 09:01:05 PM
   Professor Meyer dedicated his life to good Clinical Legal Education practices and theory.

We have lost a giant, unafraid yet unassuming.

A life well lived, a friend remembered always.

Rest in peace, Oom Schalk.   
Eddie Hanekom
May 02, 2020 08:40:37 PM
   Professor (Oom) Schalk Meyer was a pillar of Clinical Legal Education (CLE) and access to justice in South Africa for decades.

Even after retirement he never stopped serving the cause.

What a man! We all need to learn from him. Irreplaceable. i cannot imagine iur world without him.

May he rest in peace.

Eddie Hanekom   
Eddie
May 02, 2020 07:14:59 PM
   My deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues in their time of bereavement. Rest in peace LEGEND    
Shamiel Jassiem
May 02, 2020 06:29:08 PM

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Chrisna Landsberg

North West University, Potchefstroom Campus

Tel:  (018) 297-5341

Email: chrisna.landsberg@nwu.ac.za

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