Please write and tell us where you are in the world and how your careers are progressing, or just write about anything that is close to your heart.


Email your letters to nelia.engelbrecht@nwu.ac.za, fax them to 086 614 3222 or mail them to Nelia Engelbrecht, Room 138, Building C1, North-West University, Private Bag X1290,

Potchefstroom, 2520.



Piet van Maarleveld (89) passed away on Thursday, 19 October. He was a well-known photographer in the city for many years, and until recently sexton of the Reformed Church, Potchefstroom Die Bult, in the background. (Photo: Lennie Gouws)

Messages from afar

Piet van Maarleveld, better known as Oom Piet Fotokuns, was the university’s official photographer when this photo was taken during a news event in 1984. With him are Renate Janse van Vuuren, media liaison officer of the PU for CHE, Louise Laubscher, a reporter from Beeld, and myself, then Lennie Lombaard, who was a reporter at the Potchefstroom Herald. (Photo: Herald)

Dear fellow alumni,


We all know this saying “old soldiers never die ...”. I therefore write this letter so that one of the icons of the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) will not be forgotten.


Oom Piet van Maarleveld (89) passed away early in the morning on Thursday, 19 October 2017. To me he was a colleague, but to the students of the PU for CHE, Oom Piet was a legend – everyone knew “Oom Piet Foudies”.

Cigarette in mouth, armed with his precious super-sized Linhof camera, he was all over the campus and around the sports fields of the university.


With his typical biting Dutch honesty, he did not hesitate to move the subjects of his photos around until he was satisfied. In this manner, he took around 250 000 photos for the PU for CHE, which are currently housed in the archives as the Piet Photo Art Collection.


Piet van Maarleveld was born in Alkmaar in the Netherlands and came to South Africa in 1952 to work for Sasol. His then girlfriend, Ina, followed him to South Africa and they were married here. In 1958 he came to Potchefstroom to study. He started taking photos for an income and gave up his studies.


He became the university’s official photographer in 1983, but long before that he took photos for many departments of the university. His studio on campus was in the north-eastern corner of the cellar of the JS van der Merwe Building (E5). Today, a sticker advertising Fuji film on one of the windows still marks this place.


Oom Piet retired in 1990, but for some years afterwards still helped the archives and museum of the university to organise the Piet Photo Art Collection. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and two grandchildren.


Kind regards


Lennie Gouws

(Letter condensed.)



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On the front page photograph, Stephen Bogatsu (as Tyrone Jackson) dances with Lyrinda Venter (in the role of ballet dancer Iris Kelly).