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Stellenbosch University council chair Ainsley Moos, 45, has died


  • Stellenbosch University  council chair Ainsley Moos, 45, has died.
  • He has been described as a talented journalist and businessman.
  • Moos was an SU alumnus, having completed his undergrad, honours and MBA degrees there. 

Ainsley Moos, Stellenbosch University (SU) council chairperson and African Rainbow Capital executive, has died at the age of 45.

Family spokesperson Gail Strauss said Moos died during a minor medical procedure on Tuesday.

“The family can confirm that their beloved husband, father, brother, uncle and son – Ainsley Moos – died suddenly and unexpectedly [on Tuesday] evening of complications following an anaesthetic for a minor procedure to his mouth at a day clinic in Stellenbosch,” said Strauss.

SU rector and vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers said the university had lost “an extremely talented council chairperson” and “valued and loyal friend of the university”.

Moos served on the council since 2014 and was, among others, chair of the council’s remuneration committee and a member of the executive committee and the human resources committee. He was elected deputy chairperson in 2018 and started his term as chair on 3 December 2021.

“This is obviously a huge shock to the university community, and it comes, to say the least, at a time when the university has depended heavily on his management expertise and his proven experience as a communications specialist, but also in terms of his skills as manager of stakeholder relations in the corporate world. His support for me personally was inspirational. Matieland has indeed lost a great friend. His family and loved ones are in our thoughts at this sad time,” said De Villiers.

“Ainsley was passionate about Stellenbosch University and the role the university, its staff and students should play both in the country and on the global stage, and he worked hard to share this vision,” said Dr Nicky Newton-King, deputy chair of the council.

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“His humility and calm leadership stood the council in good stead as it dealt with a series of critical challenges in the past year. The university has been so lucky to have counted Ainsley among its leaders at this crucial time in its history.”

Moos was an SU alumnus, having completed his undergrad and honours degrees there, as well as an MBA in 2009.

He held several positions at Media24 during his career, including as a journalist at Beeld, editor of Landbouweekblad, editor-in-chief of Volksblad, and editor and publisher of Sake24. He later moved to Sanlam and then joined the financial services company African Rainbow Capital in 2018.

Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24, said: 

Ainsley’s loss is a devastating blow, not only to his dear family and friend but to South African society as a whole. I have no doubt that he touched the lives of thousands in his short but impactful life. To me, he was the embodiment of a true South African: critical, and realistic but always with his eyes firmly set on a better future for all. My heart goes out to his closest and dearest.

Minette Ferreira, Media24 media general manager: community news and lifestyle, and a former colleague of Moos, described him as “an incredibly talented journalist and businessman”. She said they had shared many long conversations over a glass of wine.

“We got to know each other at the start of our careers. He was an incredibly talented journalist and businessman. He was passionate and always had strong opinions, which he could validate with impeccable facts,” she recalled.

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Ferreira said Moos’ sense of humour could often lighten a serious topic, with everyone leaving the conversation with a good-natured laugh.

“I’m [devastated]. It’s such an incredible loss to South Africa that we’ve lost him as a leader,” she said.

In a social media post, a former colleague of Moos’ and chairman of the Cape Forum Heindrich Wyngaard said his death left a great void in the corporate and academic world.

He described Moos as “a principled, super-intelligent son of a family whose door in Oudtshoorn was always opened for me”. He added that Moos was “humble and dedicated.

“Ainsley Moos… was the personification of the very best that Afrikaans-speaking, coloured, rural communities can produce, provided that the children of such communities are given the opportunities,” he said.

“From his legacy, we can learn; in his absence, we must make other children with his background believe that they too are called for a time like this. Respect, brother, always.”

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