Obituary: Chris Strydom

March 25th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Chris Strydom as a person was differentiated by his loyalty and his frankness of speech, although never judgemental. He was a proud man and often spoke fondly of his family. He was also a keen and strong sportsman, abilities he displayed several times during recreational activities during visits to various De Beers mines for chief surveyors’ meetings. During his attendance at meetings and technical visits to places of interest he very much enjoyed being with his fellow surveyors and engaged enthusiastically, something he kept up well after his retirement through correspondence and attendance at industry events.

As a mine surveyor he was proud of his profession, deeply supportive of the mine surveying discipline and an example to his peers in his attention to detail in his department’s products, especially in the way that he personally nurtured young surveyors to success. Chris’ dedication to training and development included himself. While I was his colleague he upgraded his qualifications, and even as late as near his retirement age he completed a course in property valuation, a skill he thought would be useful in post-retirement life. It was acknowledged that at the time he produced the best-looking plans in De Beers.

He was stubborn and sometimes uncompromising, and therefore did not always have it easy with management. But he was at all times a true professional, and in time this was rewarded with him being promoted to chief surveyor of Kimberley Mines, a role in which he settled easily and excelled. A highlight in his career must have been his role in the handover of several De Beers mines to Petra Diamond, a process that was documented by De Beers as well as the Department of Mineral Resources as a best practice in the industry. It was characteristic of Chris that he managed to preserve the historical treasures kept in his survey offices.

As a friend he was always available with his time and advice. He was very proud of his contribution and our collective efforts in what became a family of mine surveyors in De Beers across the world, and which he had helped create and nurture. His resilience in sometimes hostile environments and his ability to thrive despite his departmental resources often being constrained are highly respected. He is vividly remembered for taking the train from Kimberley to Johannesburg to attend a chief surveyors’ meeting as the mine wouldn’t pay for his airfare.

All his colleagues past and present in De Beers have expressed their fondest wishes and fervent prayers to his family. Further, the Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa will be respecting his memory and his work during the next branch meetings across the country, as well as during its council and annual general meetings. His professional family will remember him fondly for a long time.

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