Amadeus Mogale, Curator of the Free State National Botanical Garden, Bloemfontein (South Africa), died tragically in a car accident on 13 August 2002. He was on his way back from a plant-collecting trip. At the age of 31, Amadeus was in the prime of his life. His passing is a great loss, not only to his family, but also to the National Botanical Institute, botany, and the botanical garden community in southern Africa.
Born in Kwa Thema, Springs (southeast of Johannesburg), on 1 November 1970, Amadeus, or "Oupa" as he was affectionately known, matriculated in 1989 from the St Franciscan Matric Project, Boksburg. In 1990 he registered for a National Diploma in Horticulture at the Peninsula Technikon in Bellville, Cape Town, and completed the diploma in 1993. Amadeus was Class Representative during the first two years of the course. Between 1991 and 1996 he was employed as a general supervisor at the Ferndale Nurseries, Constantia, Cape Town.
In September 1996 Amadeus joined the National Botanical Institute (NBI) (now SANBI) as a young horticulturist in the Free State National Botanical Garden. Two years later he became Curator of the Garden, where he worked until his untimely death.
Amadeusís greatest professional achievements were his contributions towards the development and completion of a Water-wise Demonstration Garden (officially opened in November 1998) and the Medicinal Demonstration Garden (officially opened in March 2001) showcasing the traditional medicinal plants of the Free State.
Amadeus participated in the Needs Assessment of the botanical gardens of Lesotho in February 1999 and was committed to close collaboration with staff from the Katse Botanical Garden in central Lesotho. During his relatively short career within the NBI, he had the opportunity to proudly represent the NBI and South Africa at the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK in May 1998 and the Gardens 2001 Congress, held in Canberra, Australia, in April 2001. During this trip he made many new acquaintances and friends visiting the Australian National Botanic Gardens (Canberra), Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Booderee Botanic Gardens, Olive Pink Botanic Garden, and Alice Springs Desert Park in central Australia. He gave well-received presentations on the Free State National Botanical Garden in Canberra, Melbourne, and Alice Springs.
Those who knew him as a sincere, generous, positive, and approachable person, full of life, humour, energy, enthusiasm, and optimism, will always remember Amadeus. One of his greatest gifts was his ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. He also placed a high premium on the development and social wellness of his staff. He put much effort into training and HIV/AIDS awareness programmes, amongst others. He was a talented leader and respected by his staff and colleagues. We shall miss him.
Amadeus was laid to rest in the Vlakfontein Cemetery, Springs, on Sunday 18 August 2002, and is survived by his wife Refiloe and their two year old son, Thagalo. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his family and friends.
óby Christopher Willis
SABONET News 7.3: 172