Obituary: Prof "Tinkie" Heyns

08 January 2009 | Story by Newsroom

Former lecturer, dean of education at UCT and rugby doyen, Professsor Izak de Villiers "Tinkie" Heyns, died on 6 January after suffering a series of strokes on Christmas Day.

He started teaching at Hottentots Holland High, had a spell in Port Elizabeth and at an advanced school in the United States before settling into the faculty of education at UCT.

He refereed first league rugby from 1947 with the Western Province Referees' Society, to which he was devoted. For several years he was the society's vice-chairman, a position he relinquished in 1991.

Prof Heyns was involved with Rondebosch Boys High School (RBHS) for over 60 years. Known affectionately as "Prof" to thousands of learners, particularly the boarders of Mason House, he served the school in a variety of capacities. He played a leading role in the coaching of athletics, cross-country and rugby over many decades and was also associated with sport at a much wider provincial level. As a runner, he held the South African 880 yards record and was an athletics Springbok.

He served for various periods as secretary, vice-chairman and chairman of the RBHS School Committee.

He made a massive contribution to refereeing in South Africa, especially through his attention to rugby laws. He was the country's acknowledged authority, and had many dealings with the International Rugby Board in this respect. He edited the South African law book for over 40 years and was involved in the translation of the laws into Afrikaans. He also set many examinations in the laws of the game for all of South Africa's referees.

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