This is the last time
Strongest man from Idaho
Goodbyes are hard enough as they are but knowing that you are only saying goodbye to a select few is sometimes easier despite the fact everyone is unique and irreplaceable. It is for this reason, compared to the last time I posted something along these lines, that I write this knowing something truly amazing is coming to an end.
This year had started off with me only knowing those who would be studying with me, namely Troy and Thomas. I really had no idea what to expect and was nervous as one would be being placed in a postgraduate program where the responsibilities are greater and you as a grown adult and student have to carry a lot more weight than you did in undergrad. I thought that, like my first three years of undergrad, that this was going to be one struggle all over again but this time with nobody to fallback onto and get help with work from. Effectively alone in a pitt of work - I didn’t know what to expect. Now it wasn’t all doom-and-gloom - I was still optimistic but I didn’t know what was “in store” for me.
As time progressed I realized it wasn’t all too bad, the work was at least in the domain of Computer Science, unlike the previous years where it was a mix of mathematics (upon other things), which only made things harder for me - seeing that I wouldn’t call myself a great mathematician by any stretch of imagination. More importantly, I made life long friends along the way - people who could help me with the work but also, and this is really what I am thankful for, is the love and care they showed as my friends.
“Life without stress and pain makes happiness an empty emotion” ~Me
Note: This website only works when there isn't load shedding in Worcester Note 2: Can the Amazon shills stop suggesting I use their cringe EC2 to host - I know how to use Linux I don't need a fancy web UI to manage a file system Note 3: Okay, enough ranting I'm gonna crack open a cold one
(pictured left-to-right) Mom, Me, Brother, Father
The singly most important people in my life, always there for me and me for them 👨👩👦👦️.
Mom, mommie, or minnie 🐭️ - whatever the various names I have given you over the past many years together from my childhood till now. One thing has remained persistent and that is your love - your unconditional love. From growing up, I remember everyday in preschool assembly when all the toddlers would get together and sit on their mom or dads lap at the beginning of shool with the morning assembly. After the fist 5 minutes the mother would then leave but I didn’t want you to leave - I would get sad - I would cry a little and so you stayed for the whole full 30 minutes or so. I remember those events so vividly in my memory - such a strong memory of the bond and love we have for each other. Just thinking of that touches my heart so much - it’s a memory I thought I had never could recall from so many years ago but I am happy I still can - because love is forever ❤️. Those beginning years at Lanner House really were such beautiful memories of mine, if it wasn’t for your tireless work on things such as the Parents-Teacher association (PTA) at Lanner House, organizing lessons for me at occupational therapy (OT), getting me tested for ADHD, helping me through my high school career at Bridge House with extra maths lessons - the driving from Franschoek and back - just so much that was expressed in what many don’t directly see as direct displays of affection but ought to be seen as such.
In the more recent years, your assistance in making sure I always remembered my deadlines, helping me organize my hand writing concession for extra time at university, coming over with dad on weekends to help me clean up my apartment and restock my food supplies. There’s honestly so much that I will never be able to re-pay you back for mom and it goes beyond just the mere items listed here, there’s a lot that just cannot be typed out within one night’s worth of writing.
The only way I can pay you back mom, is by making you proud - and that is a venture that is ongoing and has no end. It will persist even when you are long gone because I promise to make you proud no matter what.
It’s the absolute least I can do as the son to the greatest mother out there.
Papa, my dad, you have been the strong leading force in the household - something I believe can only work with a likewise strong mother but not without both. You are the ying to the yang ☯️ in that sense. I can go all the way back into the past to recount all of the very fond memories I have of you as a child - certainly there are many of them which are my favorites. The days when it was just the two of us by the house in Worcester and you’d suggest that rather than boil in the heat at home we could take a little day trip to Hermanus near the ocean for a break from it all - walk the promenade with all its art and then put the cherry on top with a good lunch at either a seafood restaurant or an Italian one (of which we both enjoy 🍕️). When the weather wasn’t in our favor and the rain was pouring down then a drive down to Brandwacht’s rivier every year would be something very memorable seeing the water flood the river (and once even breaking it, resulting a re-routing of traffic of all the farmers living on that side of the Breede Vallei) and the beautiful leaves falling down on the ground.
These almost ritualistic ventures of ours are things I hold very near to myself, and as for the Brandwacht drives we still haven’t let that one go - which goes to show how important it is to you and I. The only difference now is that sometimes I’m the one driving and you’re in the passenger seat.
“Times have changed but somethings never change - I am happy to still have these rituals or ours not resort to only being memories but rather a process of making memories"
Going back further we did the stereotypical father-and-son things which to some of this confused generation may seem meaningless or easily replaceable by another figure but which I know is simply impossible - it’s something only a father can offer. Whether it be the “jumping jack in the box; won’t go back in the box” and then you proceeding to thrust me forward into the swimming pool, or the drives through Slanghoek, to Ceres or even a quick cheeky little stop at Die Eike. These are just a few of what an outsider may see as insignificant but we I hold very near and dear to my heart. Things would go on to include our adventures into red wine 🍷️ and you teaching me what wines are good and what are not, then to top it all off, bringing me a bottle or two down from Worcester when you and mom were in Stellenbosch on the Saturday evenings. Then with my birthday present, a brand-new vinyl turntable and a few new vinyls to go along with it as well - such a treat! These little things meant a whole lot to me and they make every moment with you I have, all the more special.
Being a father means doing a lot for the family, whether it be the sheer amount of years you spent working in your business, opening new factories and dealing with the amount of stress associated with your average South African employee. You put a lot of effort into not just me but this whole entire family dad. You had a lot of uphill battles, but you beat them in the end - not only am I appreciative of these things dad but I am proud of you as well.
I’m proud to call you my dad 💪️
My brother Vaughan, you are the my other half - somebody I always looked up to when growing up. You were the big boy in my world and you could always defend me from any harm or bullies that came my way, I always knew my brother would be there to protect me and there have been times where I was comforted by you are you ability to do so - I never felt afraid or at least you made me know I was safe.
Although nothing has changed in that regard, the bullies have disappeared but I know you are someone I can always be open and honest with, talk to when I am down and do the same for you when you are in need. As brothers are whole entire journey has been one about reciprocation - if anything that is what brotherhood is about!
Writing this I realize that that was the core tenant of what bonds us together but I couldn’t help but think of all the memories that come to my head whilst sitting here, in the lab writing this during my free time. I can recall us as toddlers at Lanner House and the early days of MXiT and the funny stuff you showed me there. We can go back even earlier than that to the days of us both sitting keenly in front of the one computer you shared with myself, mom and you and how I would watch you for hours play games like Myst, Sonic the Hedgehog 3D, Psychonauts, that “Ninja game that I can’t remember”, Spore and the works. You had such a creative mind and I was enthralled by your interests both artistically and in a logical sense. You spent a lot of time figuring out puzzles in that game Myst, I recall you had a little notebook where you drew these beautiful diagrams that emulated what we saw on screen and worked out how to unlock these bejeweled locks, interact with machinery and try to get things to work. From a young time you had the ability to logically solve things if you just put your mind to it - this point I make as it is important for later.
I remember the days of sitting in front of the computer and having to wait near 20 minutes for a flash movie to load, and how we would watch things on Flash Portal, Albino Blacksheep and Newgrounds 10 times in a row just to make the most of that fact! Those were some of my best memory with you Vaughan and I can’t believe how fast it all just flew by but the great thing about memories is that I still remember being your little bro, sitting cross legged on a chair next to you whilst you operate the wizardry machinery that I would know to become a computer. And I have those memories still with me, they make me smile when I think of all the cool games we played and sometimes naughty animations we watched. I hope you remember these memories with as much love as I do too ❤️!
As every decade goes by it seems you gain a new set of major skills in a field completely different to the ones you have known to come before and my word you impress me Vaughan - beyond anything I could ever accomplish. Firstly, it started with your art - which was - simply amazing. I can remember all of the things you have drawn, painted and digitally illustrated over the years and they are just amazing. Needless to say, your ability to do 2D/3D animation and actually make something look realistic, create detailed textures, weight painting (which is a harder thing to do in that realm) and still come up top with your results has always simply left me astounded and impressed but more importantly proud.
Then as time went on your interested in physics, most likely pushed by its use within 3D animation physics and game engines, started to grow alongside with chemistry and boy did your interest peak when you started looking into maths. You really did the impossible Vaughan, or rather I should say the possible as anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You went to re-write your mathematics papers such that you could have mathematics on your final matric instead of mathematics literacy and you excelled in those two papers you wrote. You then enrolled at UNISA and took mathematics, physics and chemistry. Your first year you did amazingly well and you are on track form doing so again this year once again, coming top in your class multiple times, helping fellow classmates out because you enjoy helping people and they way you teach is simply amazing. Your knowledge on the subject matter has always intrigued me and you always know how to answer any of my dumb questions regarding physics 😉️ - seeing just how bad my grasp on it or chemistry for that matter and mathematics is.
The other thing was your artistic nature, the drawings you you had produced over the years were some of the coolest pieces of artwork I had seen during my whole time at school whilst you were taking art classes. There are countless cases of times you have astounded me with the works you have done, all the way starting from the art class lessons we used to have as kids each Friday after school, through junior and high school - your works not only got better but they got more detailed as time went along. ENtering into your animation diploma you did at The Animation School your two-dimensional (and later three-dimensional) works would keep me enthralled with both your creativity but also technical skill and ability as a lot of that work required more than just creativity - you had both of these highly sought after traits.
You’re who I have always looked up to Vaughan, you’re my big brother after all - you make me proud. Whether it’s physics/chemistry-Vaughan, artist-Vaughan or guitarist/bassist-Vaughan - you leave me amazed.
There’s a whole lot of you and honestly it’s about time we just go heads-first into this and take a deep dive into the very eclectic bunch of people I had met/worked with this year.
The systems programmers
(pictured left-to-right) Tristan, Gustav, Stephen
You guys were literally my first CS friends who really and I mean really enjoyed computers, programming and tinkering around. I am eternally grateful to have people like you in my life.
You’ll always appear on this list man - you’re the most reliable of all my friends, always there and always willing to work together on something. Any day of the week I would be working either at the lab or (most of the time) at my apartment and I would receive a call from you as a surprise that you were in town that evening and wanted to drop by. I would never resist such an invitation as we always had so much to catch up on during those times you came to hang over. This, however, is a recent past - our friendship goes back many many years and I can only honor that by going all the way back to the origin story of our friendship.
The first time we met must have been near the end of our second semester in first year. We all had to work on that obstacle chess project, which for the uninitiated was a chess program with trapdoors, bombs, walls and so forth. I recall you showing me your version on your laptop which had these cool blood animations which would appear when a chess piece was captured - it was at that moment that I realized this guy takes this work seriously - he’s a real programmer. Now, this wasn’t my first encounter with you, I recall you discussing regular expressions quite a lot and how you tried using them to implement your entire chess game. “That’s crazy man - that’s crazy”, was what I was thinking whilst you continued on explaining this WILD method of implementing the matching of board states or something along those lines. Now, I was a little intimidated - I cannot lie. Here I sit on my chair in front of this tall, groot-gebou Afrikaner (10+ points) talking about regular expressions enthusiastically (as one would if they did regex in their sleep) (another 10+ points) and lastly about how it was used to implement a crucial part of the game play (1000000+ points). From this moment I knew this guy had to be my friend - he was just so smart and interested in what he was studying - something not very present at a grand scale within a single university class in my opinion at least. He was a nerd - like me and I wanted that in my friends.
It was from this day onwards that we became best buddies or “chommies”, we’d spend a lot of time discussing Linux, customizing our i3 setups along with Stephen and next thing you know - we had a trio consisting of you, Stephen and I - all messing around on our laptops, tweaking configurations and messing around with programming. You, specifically, had a very analytic mind in terms of solving problems. I recall you working tirelessly in your free time, whatever time you had seeing how much work we had in the first few years in our undergraduate Computer Science course, on Project Euler problems - and my word you had made it very far in solving many of those problems - something that had always amazed me. But it really came as no surprise, first the chess project written on paper, then this, it was just a clear sign of how the insides of your amazing brain worked. Real excellence 🧠️.
Our fun projects have not ended yet, if it wasn’t us messing around on campus and exchanging project ideas for our assignments then we just continued that at home. It would have been impossible, without your help, to accomplish several projects of mine, these include some of the big ones like CRXN, BonoboNET and so on. You are pivotal in my success - there is a lot more that I have to thank you for in my life. You are moraled, well-principled and consistent in my life. You never disappoint - nothing is ever too tall an ask, you’re someone I can aspire to be in the way you carry yourself. You are seen as family by the Kildaire’s - you are truly my best friend.
To many more times running the following commands!
sudo routef systemctl restart bird reboot # Oh! Now it works!
“Could you try pinging this address?” ~Me
Stephen Cochrane (skiqqy)
You must have been one of the first people that I met during my first year of Computer Science in Stellenbosch who I really clicked with in the academic sense of the word. We all make friends with whom we have similar interests but some just have a more focused interest that aligns with one’s self - that is who you were Skiqqy (previously known as “Skippy”). Our first conversation took place whilst sitting on the floor outside NARGA D waiting for our first tutorial session on a hot summers day. Somehow we got onto discussing what languages we did at school, Java was thrown around and Delphi as well (which was definitely your favorite ;)).
From there somehow I mentioned my newfound love I had with the D programming language - some people were taken aback but basically just you and your commandeering presence of knowledge on the topic. It came out of leftwing, nobody was expecting it. From such a simple encounter I think I made enough of an impact to begin our friendship from that day onwards.
I really remember just how smart you were with mathematics. Sitting every day in Mathematics 114 where you had such a clear grasp on set theory and limits - whilst I didn’t (probably also because I wasn’t paying much attention). Later on, we study in the Physics library (of which I had no access to but Nicholas would give to me now and then) and I remember those pivotal 20 minutes before an exam where we would all ask each other questions and then equally confuse one another either by misunderstanding or one of us being wrong (can’t be me ;)).
We were always on a call with each other given any time of the day
We had a lot of fun together, if it wasn’t the mathematics exams then it was most definitely the fun we had with Linux. Oh, the memories we had together. My first steps of subversive propaganda must have been shilling Fedora to you, once you switched to it I had to continue on with the brainwashing tactics. The gateway drug of tiling window managers. What started off as a possibly morbid curiosity of mine to try and Hacker-maxx in order to find all the i3 honeys on campus quickly turned into a legitimate love for the i3 window manager, so much so that what started off as me joking about a minimalist window manager actually convinced you to use it and subsequently me sticking to it.
The o-so many nights spent at The Happy Oak having a blast there, drinking a healthy amount of rum and coke (2 for 1 special despite the price increase possibly nullifying it).
Somehow when it came to computer programming, I somehow had luckily found someone who truly was in the same realm of me in terms of ongoing hobby projects and interests. Not too mention some cheeky so-called “hipster humor” here and there which really put the cherry on-top.
Lastly, someone who looked at themselves and was committed to bettering themselves - no matter the cost. That’s you Stephen and keep on pushing forward in that direction because your eventual destination is only a few blocks down the line.
I can’t wait to start work with you next year - it’s going to be a blast man! Just like good old times
(pictured left-to-right) Sigma Woman, Sigma Man, Sigma Man, Sigma Woman
You lot are a special bunch honestly. I am so happy I met you guys - however it happened I am happy that it did, and damn Mr Mouton is such a chad.
If I may indulge you in the following quotes about our friend group (or family rather - because that’s what we are - a little familia):
“Perfectly ratio’d, perfectly balanced - as all things should be.” ~Thanos Aristotle
“We’re like the ABBA of computer science” ~Also not Tristan (natuurlik)
“Skrrrrt skrrrt 🚗️…” ~Line’s car on the curb of Smuts Rd.
“Okay but no I’m driving now” ~Alex
“You can tell by the way their hands look” ~Lauren
Our friendship is like the original
a.out Binary Executable Format for Linux in the 21st century era - “We somehow shouldn’t be compatible but we are”. On a serious note though having a friend with a witty sense of humor and ability to take and make some rather “based” jokes is something I did not think I would have originally found within you. Having crossed paths with each other during some rather momentous moments in my life (what we refer to as dealing with people from Gauteng) it really showed that you had a good heart and were there to help me through tough times. Your care and affection are greatly appreciated and hold a special place in my heart.
However, as they say “tough times never last, only tough people last” because boy did we have a blast in that first semester of university - never had I had such an absolute blast of a time. If it wasn’t the huis danses (and Alex carrying Liné on the red carpet), then it was our dance moves and pasta cooking coupled with explosive red wine staining your jeans and my room’s cealing. Spending time together, listening to music on my turn table and having a really good time was much appreciated. To sum it up you’re a kind hearted individual with a huge amount of courage (and a good aim on a 9mm) and very smart (thanks for the CV help).
The evenings we spent in the lab working tirelessly on some stupid algos assignment to which we’d easily find the answer too after pulling one of these bad boys off:
throw new RuntimeException(System.in.readLine());
Was a great way to bond with each other - a friendship forged in fire - in this case the fire that was Willem’s incessant releasing of assignments. Just when you thought you’d completed all three programming assignments he would hit you with another. Thankfully you and I were both prepared, you with you immense knowledge and me pitching up to the lab with a corkscrew and a bottle of Clint’s finest wine. “Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc Lauren?" to which you’d answer “Just a little bit”, and by the end of the evening I would have finished the whole bottle. The fond memories I have doing those assignments with you in first semester wasn’t because I saw you simply as a friend who would be able to assist me with my work, no, I saw it as time spent having fun together because we’d be able to have to much fun over the mundane things before, after and in-between. Didn’t have dinner before we started working? Well, let’s go over to my flat and cook some pasta, listen to some Il Mondo and have some wine before we head back to the lab to push out some work for the evening. When the work go a little bit too hard and we needed a break then we chatted for a long time, browsing the internet and sometimes discussing rather interesting things - to say the least.
I think that is what I got a lot out of this friendship, something different. A person who was very different to me and had a lot to open my mind to. The amount of utter shenanigans we were able to get up to at this university actually astounds me. If it wasn’t LARPing as a married couple (failing to convince people that Ben was our son, however, to my disappointment) to skirt around some seating restrictions then it is playing 4D chess (instead of checkers) with people and damn it was a fun time.
On a more serious note though. We didn’t always have to agree Lauren, we just had to always have each other’s back and there were most definitely some pivotal moments in this year where I was assured you’d have my back - and you showed me you did. Forever grateful I am; God bless your soul.
Stay #HVF 💅️✨️
I remember the first time meeting you Line, it was you I and Lauren all in the lab sitting at our desks and we were all so encumbered just by the difficulty of Digital Image Processing (DIP) and its assignments. Now, I say that with a grain of salt knowing just how much harder Computer Vision would be and that DIP would be seen as a cakewalk effectively. Through this time period which was only within the first few weeks of university I recall sitting opposite you in the “hot seats” table in the lab and us having small talk now ands then about our work and assignments. Even through what I thought ws the really tough times - the beginning of Algos, you were always there to re-assure me and cheer me on as I made progress through the theoretical work that I so much struggled with. It was these early days which cemented in my head the good nature of who you were as a person - one of the most caring and in-touch souls I have ever come across. Never once did you do anyone wrong even when faced by those who did you wrong - you were a quiet hero but an extremely strong one at that - both mentally, emotionally and physically. Someone who is a dependable friend, always there and always complimentary. If someone accomplished something, got hired for a job, or just got a good mark even - you were someone that always complimented them and in my case - me - for such accomplishments. One would think that such a value is the baseline for being a good human being - and it is - but the amount of people I have come to know has shown that clearly these well-established set of principles, morals and virtues are apparently not so important. Thankfully, you do appreciate such ideals and it makes a great person out of you.
All of this is great but what is really of importance is your enjoyment of knives - now I would call myself a firearms enjoyer, hell even a coinnisuer but I would never be able to put myself on the same level as that of someone who is a knives enthusiast - and oh boy did you have a very tasteful selection of them. Needless to say, you’re a real bok for sport and it’s refreshing having a friend who is always keen to get a bruise on their knee once in a while, whether it be rock climbing or any of the things one can get up to in the great outdoors of Stellenbosch.
Your laughter, appreciation for humor and smile brings a lot of joy to those who surround you in their lives - and I’m one of those people. It’s small things like this, not necessarily grandiose things such as wealth and so forth, that I appreciate in people and I do admit that one can underappreciate them sometimes but we need to count our blessings that good people with caring intensions are out there and that they’re the people we ought to surround ourselves with.
Dankie Liné ❤️
This man is such a gentleman, a classy fellow. Nothing really can match the panashe, the so-called je ne sais quoi, of this individual - I mean just look at the photo. His hair, the way he grasps the glass and last but not least - his choice of beverage. This man makes his own gin - he is so cool, Aurum Madidus it is. The golden heart of this person is immeasurable, if it isn’t helping me with Data Science (because God help me trying to do anything with KMeans and KNN clustering) then its giving me a taste of his amazing gin, playing the piano whilst I code away on my compiler in the most tranquil environment. Cultured aspects aside, this man has always been a supportive person with whom one could confide and seek advice - a person who understood exactly everything I could have possibly been going through - without even having to mention a single word.
I must say, you do really have one of the nicest and most “pimped out” computer setup I have ever seen. For the untrained eye, you may look like a typical “stock bro” when you have your trading bot graphs opened, or a gamer when you simply just have your machine idling. However, what people seem to miss with you is that you are more than that - you are a scientific computing enjoyer. I recall a discussion we had late into this year - near the end - where I posed the question:
Me: “Alex don’t you think that the way many are writing software is extremely inefficient?”
Alex: “Yes. Yes I do”
And with that very strong (and correct opinion - I am not even going to debate this with anyone - especially those who believe webapps are “moral”) I knew that this guy is a man amongst men. This guy shares a view with me that we should strive to implement things efficiently and that just because you can do something because you have a lot of RAM (and Alex has 96 gigabytes of it) doesn’t mean you should be wasteful. It very much could have been the way you were brought up - if your parents say never waste food or money and make the most of it - which I get the feeling your ‘rents would have done. Then one can easily see why you have such a righteous and correct factual objective “opinion” (air quotes because it’s a fact). You’re going to be successful for that way of thinking man, not only in programming but in general. For the programming side of things you will end up writing code that you really can be proud of - where you know the inner workings or how optimizations can successfully be applied - and not just haphazardly applied as some people do who lack the understanding of how the nitty gritty of certain libraries and algorithms work.
Very few people are willing to let you come over at any time to their apartment to chill or relax - I have never had a friend more welcoming in that sense. I must commend you for that Mr Mouton - you were raised well. Your welcoming spirit is something I haven’t come across in many of my friends in that sense - it is greatly appreciated ans meant more to me than it may have seemed. Not to mention all the banter that would follow as soon as Rhyn arrived late in the evening and then all of the funny stories started coming out - those were great and my word still make me chuckle to this day but are forever sealed from leaving my lips. Your love for cooking interesting vegetable-stews and sharing this with your friends is definitely a highlight of coming over - I always leave feeling incredibly healthy.
This man could honestly be the next president of South Africa if he really wanted to - but as he had made a better choice to study something in the sciences (something free of scandals) I will not be able to refer to him as President-elect Boshoff for the remainder of this peace.
Simeon, you are an upstanding individual - an image of what a good gentlemanly person should aspire to be. You’re hard working, diplomatic and incredibly kind - the amount of time you put into organizing various activities whether it be the Illusive Computer Science hoodies, to having to deal with the problems at Huis Marais, and countless other things that were separate from your degree of which was very demanding as well - you somehow came out of it with a postgraduate degree, a job and an amazing set of friends. You really pushed yourself, never once without a smile on your face and always willing to spend time with those close to you - I appreciated this always. Having your presence in the lab was always great. The countless times we spent together poking fun at certain (hint: “A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.") GP drivers in our class in the name of fun were very memorable events.
Between this and what follows there was a great amount of influence you had over me, especially when it came to your wealth of knowledge on modern technology. For starters, my addiction to my mechanical keyboard would have never begun if it was not for you to convince me to purchase one of these bad boys. I had so much fun learning all about these things with you and you really opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about - I have had so much joy just merely discussing these things with you and it has a special place in my memory you and your taste in “timeless pieces” such as your Pagani Design watch - you’re a tasteful and cultured fellow - I can give you that.
Whenever I wanted to strike up a conversation with you about something in current affairs I always felt your brought something to the table - something well thought through and many a time it would be things I was totally unaware of. You are a well-spoken individual and it really shows - there’s a reason my parents think so highly of you - and so do I. There’s a lot that we really did at a core level share and have in common when it came to some of our core beliefs and it was always comforting to know I could come to someone with my ideas, worries or inner thoughts that would be able to understand them, stay just the way you are man. You’re an extremely likeable person with a strong character and set of values and highly respectable.
The "Tres amigos" in Huis Marais 🇿🇦️
Boyd Kane Thee Boyd Kane (I am so sorry for ever having mispronounced your name - it should be a crime to not prefix it with Thee) you my friend are an amazing individual. You were one of my first friends at the beginning of the year, I in fact remember meeting you for one of the very first times after I broke off things with that lady from Gauteng ( a story for another day you’ll never hear it - it’s too cringe) and the support you offered me is a memory that has stuck in my head as one of “the bros” who was there for me in a one of my “tough times” - things like this stay with me because I know now who was there for me in those times and it’s an underappreciated act of goodwill I think - so I just want you to know how much I appreciated that. In any case, let’s not spend much time thinking about anything Gauteng-related because I might just declare the Cape independent if I continue on this tangent.
The thing I found with you that I never found with anyone else, was your love for programming and the intricacies of it. You loved low-level programming, if anything you went lower than I did with your amazing honors project which incorporated electronic engineering, micro-controllers and interfacing with them. Your love for Rust - an inherently systems-based programming language. You were in the same league as I and it resulted in endless discussions between you and I about the things we were working on at any given time. Your ability to keep a keen ear on the topic at hand that I was discussing and your interest in the topic was something I never really experienced in any of my friends before - and not to blame them - not everyone loves compilers, but finding this quality within you was something I enjoyed so much about coming into the lab everyday and seeing you walk through that door. You were always keen to ask me how things were going with my compiler or in general, always listened and a lot of the time gave great advice and thought deeply alongside me on certain problems. That sort of in depth interest on the same subject matter as mine was something I hadn’t found in a person before - and there’s so much of it we still need to share together.
Catching you for a quick coffee which turned into an hour-long discussion about Haskell’s monads or what point-free programming was were some of the things I really enjoyed about the time I spent with you at Stellenbosch, you pushed my brain in an academic sense and it was so fun to have something in common with a friend in the realm of programming because it really is rare.
You’re an amazing computer programmer, your skills are really unmatched and when you are not indulging yourself in programming you are indulging others’ - and it’s a quality you should never lose.
“Halo Sir I am under water, please help me”
Such famous words uttered by a great orator, Barack Obama. Ben, my friend, I have a lot to say about you. You are indeed what I would refer to as an interesting fella. Although you hailed from Wits you seem to have fit just right in with the Stellenbosch crowd or, at least, the computer scientists (we’re all a quirky weird bunch, as much as I’d like to deny being a “quirky male”
I prefer schizo male). I, for one, am very happy for this because I think that if I hadn’t met you that I would have had a very different year. There are many reasons for this ranging from your sense of humor, your knowledge on topics that I mutually enjoyed and also your willingness to always help me out when in need. These are characteristics that are not necessarily that common or at least to the degree you portrayed them in is not common. Your endless support in that manner has been greatly appreciated.
As for mutually shared topics of interests well, there’s a lot we could go over. Firstly, your knowledge of memes is amazing, it’s at the very least on par with my knowledge which is great but at the very most you posses Telegram Channel operator energy. Somehow you had the ability to recount every single utterance of every popular meme in what I found hilarious and sometimes quite amazing at the amount of intellectual “meme capacity” that you had.
Secondly, and more importantly, you had a lot of knowledge on programming at a level that I could identify with. Design patterns and principles, networking, writing big systems and the list goes on. You and I both had passion projects that we worked tirelessly on for a long time and I was able to bond with you over that. We loved discussing programming languages and your favorite C#. There were, however, some stumbling blocks to this friendship as with any there is. Specifically, your use of the
var keyword was rather worrying, I felt as if I had lost a part of my friend to Lucifer’s type-inference shills but as with people we all share slight differences in our closely knit friend groups - without these differences we would all be the same and nothing would be left to make us any different from one another then; what a shame that would be!
I really enjoyed the time we spent together hiking up Coetzenberg in the early Stellenbosch mornings, walking in that nestled beauty that is the spiraling pathway of Coetzenberg. Finishing this, you taking us for a drive down Dorp street to Adam and Eve to get a bagel 🥯️ whilst we listening to DJ Paulie (or whatever that fella’s name was) play some beats on his turntable.
You’re a smart fella, and a good lad. Thanks boet.
Now I could have easily copied and pasted the kind words I had written for you last year but what would be the point in that - I have an endless amount that I could write about us two - because as each year progresses it only gets better. What is it? Its our friendship - one that is coming up on roughly 4 years now and one that I will never forget. In could very much have said within the early days of our friendship that it was like any other but as events had transpired down the line you were one of the very few friends who knew me well enough to help me through extremely pivotal moments in my life that, had you not been there, would have left me in a place of approach the downwards spiral. What I learnt from you was a good idea that had so easily left my headspace - the idea of moderacy - a time and a place but most importantly the size of a portion. Now, this may seem obvious to many but to me at a certain stage in life hearing these words was all I really needed. Needless to say, I hedge a lot if not most of the value I put on our friendship on those very few dark chapters in my life. I could go on to say a lot about who you are as a person - and oh boy I will - but I want you to know that was the truest form of friendship. No beach house, wine will buy me those moments again in life - but your solid heart of gold and principled take on life taught me how to be an actual man.
You’re a man of steal Troy - it took me time to understand it all but I am happy I had a mentor like you to come to terms with reality. For anyone else reading this, it may seem innocuous but to summarize. This man stood by his words, instead of just saying one thing and doing another. He was a gentleman and best of all he could balance that with actually having a good sense of humor. It’s as if he found the perfect ratio of them both - he then passed me this knowledge and I keep it in my head everyday.
Now, sob story aside, let’s talk about this
f e l l a. So, I met this absolute chad-maxxing individual/sir/mr during Operations Research 214 - remember that annoying graph theory class. Now, khalahari aside, I first was unsure how to approach this fella. Firstly he was sitting at the same table as me with his headphones on and using his iPad to take notes. Already, I then knew this man was a serious fella - he had no emotions on his face - in a sense he was Bateman-maxxing before I even knew that was a thing. Man probably had Dineplan open with a premium account to get a reservation at Dorsia’s but I digress. Somehow it came about that Thomas Theron and Troy had struck up a friendship between each other and this lead us to forming a study group where we’d attempt to pass that wretched module by having group study sessions in the Student Sentrum (or SS for short), now the wifi was rather sus in this study center, if you were in one of the study rooms on the second floor, so perhaps we should refer to it as the Sus Sentrum. In any case, we spent a lot of time in those rooms doing more banter and shit talking than we did studying but when we did study we really worked well together us three. We had a very good time together studying that stuff and I bonded pretty well with this fella there, mainly because I realized this guy had an amazing sense of humor that he shared with me - from then it was just like that - we clicked. I knew I wanted to have this person around me.
As the years progressed we passed our second year and went into our third, at this time I was still carrying the weight of failing Applied Mathematics 144 (basically school physics - which I never did) on my shoulders kinda like sisyphus (the rock pushing fella), so we had our hands tide in the sense we were all rather busy but that never stopped us from having fun. We had multiple evenings we’d spend at each other’s flats or at Thomas’s, drinking a good glass or two of red 🍷️ and eating some good steak that this chef, Troy himself, so well prepared. If it wasn’t that, it was this absolute gentleman providing my chronically-pedestrian-self with transport within Stellenbosch and a year ago all the way to Buffel’s Bay - a trip which without him would not be a memory at all. We have had such great times together and despite our disagreements on things (which honestly isn’t all too much) we have a bond which I cannot say exists with any of my other friends. A type of comradery, an implicit trust or understanding - a friendship that has been put through tests but at the end we stood side by side and both came out as genuine proper gentlemen.
You’re a good lad Troy, a hard worker, extremely principled and you have always had my back even when I didn’t know it - I’ll never take it forgranted.
“I was playing chess whilst y’all were playing checkers” ~Daniel
Now as much as I wish the quote above was real, it sadly isn’t. Daniel, I met you in the second semester of this year and I am very glad I did. Although you had been studying with us all along I never really saw you in the first semester but as soon as networking came around and we needed to mark demos, invigilate exams and check exam answers we formed a good bond. It’s been a short time together but it’s a friendship I wish to continue. You have a great sense of humor (some would say you are a “based individual/fella”) and you’re just an all around good guy. You’re very smart - there is no question about that and I am happy to have befriended some one that, like me, has a passion. Keep at it man - you’re going places and stay true to yourself.
You have a kind heart, always smiling and make any event a fun one! ♟️
Der Den Heever
Despite not knowing what your actual last name was for about half of the year I was able to remember that - along with some other dates in January
;). Erin, despite us being like the two poles of a neodymium magnet somehow we found a shred of commonality between each other which I think can be summed up to the following things:
That’s all you need for a friendship to exist and I cherish all of the
violent non-violent communications we exchanged in “heated?! debates” during Computing and Society. You’re definitely one of the squad - you’re a cool fella (I don’t know what the correct pronounces for fella is, forgive me). Your style of coding was, umh, interesting - pretty sure it was the first time I saw a list comprehension within a list comprehension. If anything, I think you should be hired immediately by the Eclipse Language Server team because you would easily be able to optimize their refactoring engine because that code legit looked like Assembly if Assembly was Python 3.
Jokes aside, you are a hard working person - your honors project shows that. You never give up and most importantly you were always willing to lend a helping hand - something I will never forget. All of those modules over the last year were stressful and I am happy to have befriended someone who never gave up. Best of all you didn’t just work hard but you partied harder - your taste in music definitely says that. Maybe, it’s time I buy a Maneskin LP.
You’re my favorite Gautenger - stay awesome girl. 😎️
The rock climbing crew
What do you get when you have three people that can be classified into these three classes:
- A Gautenger
- A boermeisie van Worcester af
- An American from Idaho
Yet another incident at Stellenbosch University You get something that has been one of the best parts of my last few months here in Stellenbosch - a group of friends that whatever their quirks are - were some of the most supportive, confidence-boosting and wholesome people that I have come across.
Firstly, Justin De Witt, you my friend are an amazing person. I hadn’t done any sort of exercise since leaving school, just some walking here and there on Coetzenberg and then you came along and suggested I join the rock climbing club - or as I have come to affectionately refer to it as “The Rockies 🪨️”. I didn’t know how well I would do the first time I went bouldering but with your presence and complimentary ways you made it such that every time I climbed I kept pushing myself, trying to do better - finding new routes and then accomplishing them. This trait of yours to give people such confidence boosts - even in the worst of times - is something I very much appreciate about you. You helped me grow as a person and showed me what kindness, compassion and growth looks like.
Second to all of these good characteristics you’re a solid person, and that isn’t just what my dad thought of you when you came over for dinner. No, it’s something I have given thought to for quite some time. You put your head down, you get through the work ahead of you and you hardly complain - unless it’s about getting good marks for Data Science
;). Being keen to socialise with me in the middle of no-where (Worcester) when many others would either not be able to make it was something that I could really identify with, Worcester is a quiet place but you make it a little less so and the next few weeks I hope to make the most of it in that regard with you.
Both of our interests couldn’t be further apart but we do both share a passion to do excellent work and to do it well. I think you out do me in that sense though. You have an heir of prefessionalism and 100%-a-tism in the sense that you won’t release anything to the world until its completely done and you are very proud of it. In a sense, you hide pride in favor of remaining humble as to not let anything like those fickle traits get in the way of not just doing menial work but rather excellent work - at the end you have all the reason to celebrate such feats. You’re a hard worker and have a lot of admirable traits I could learn from.
Anke, despite having noticed your red hair in first year where you stood out in the whole class of Maths 114 students, I never actually spoke to you. I just observed a first year girl go from having no long board to having a long board. Many years went by and when I had my “re-union with Justin” and you came to hang in the lab with us, often enjoying a glass of wine with us two we started chatting and got very much along. This should have never come to a surprise to me seeing as we were both Worcesterites - i.e. being born in Worcester - something I hold very near and dear to my heart in a prideful sense. Many evenings in the lab with the rockies proved to be great fun, going to Holy Dough for a nice slice of Pizza, buying a great set of vinyl records from you and then climbing in the evening topped off with a bowl of rice from Pandas.
Despite all the banter that we shared toghether at every possible moment when we were within a few meters of each other, whether it be in the lab, whilst demi-ing (when we were meant to be answering those annoying questions) or at the climbing wall. I enjoyed the banter a lot but more what I enjoyed was that past all of it you were always a person interested in programming. Wanting to know how my compiler was going, how work was going and also sharing your experiences with programming projects of your own with me. Despite me maybe not making it very obvious to you, I really appreciated the company and talks we had together. It was always a welcome conversation whatever we chatted to each other about and was a reason for me to look forward to the CS244 demi-ing sessions each Friday - despite others not necessartily holding that patciular sentiment. Dankie Bernhardt.
The masters students
I need to say somrthing about these individuals - I cannot that not say anything about these two people (Luan and Kevin photobombing Simeon and I). Now, I have a history with these two people as they started studying all the way back in the good old days of ‘18 and were there all the way out until they decided to graduate and leave me, the bozo, behind to try pass AM 144. In any case, these people were some solid Club 45’ers and remain so till this day - for those who don’t know - you never will - it was an exclusive club and sorry you won’t be invited to our own version of the Bohemian Grove.
Now, these two people would stay couped up in that tiny little masters cabinet along with Dylan doing only God-knows what for hours upon hours each day - sometimes venturing into the lab to come say hi or grab a coffee - which would then turn into Luan talking to Lauren Hayward in Afrikaans for a solid 20 minutes whilst Hayward maintains she isn’t Afrikaans despite being from the Eastern Cape (I don’t know, it’s some republic or something, I live in the Free State of Chadas which consists of the entirety of the Cape Colony and solely the town of Giyani in Limpopo), therefore I have no idea what goes on in EC despite it having sand - so it’s probably like Namibia/Northern Cape/Constantia House Wive’s sense of humor (seflde ding).
In any case, the prescence of seniors in the honors lab was always welcome as they would bring us a lot of knowledge we gladly accepted, we’d have lunch with them and go out as well - there was no artificial boundry placed between us because we were friends right from the beginning. I am happy to see where you guys are gokng with your research and potential future job prospects and wish you the best of luck guys.
You’ll always be, like a few in this blog post, part of C45 - and I won’t forget that group of people - you’re the original group of friends I have and persist till today. We need a reunion.
It all started with the new lecturer (now professor - congrajulations on that
sir professor!) and his new class being offered to honors students: “Advanced Topics I - Computing and Society”. Immediately I knew this wasn’t going to be one of your average honors classes, I thought it was going to be a little different - it was after all my first class on ethics besides that given by any good parents. What started as just simply a module, grew into the only module I really looked forward to having classes in. The topics were refreshing, it was nice to see the human side of technological design instead of just coding, the people we met and had interviewed along the way made me feel like I belonged to an actual computer science community - not just some Git repository stored somewhere in San Francisco.
You sir became more than just a lecturer to me and a few of your students, you became a life long friend and someone who cared deeply about their students. Amongst all the cold and darkend hearts of those around you, you shined like a beacon of hope, maybe even liberty 🗽️🇺🇸️
;). Having been invited to your inauguration of your professorship was an absolute honor, likewise enjoying a manouche at our favourite Lebanese restaurant.
Stay awesome sir - your work and career is amazing. Look forward to seeing you again soon!
Loïc van der Westhuizen
My man Loic, the Frenshc ambassador (I am pretty sure somehow you and the French government are buddy buddy, that or you are unknowingly being conscripted into the French Foreign Legion). You are one of the coolest UNISA students that joined our honors class for a short time before your eventual return back to UNISA - but to me and a good few you never left our class. You will always remain a good friend, a confidant despite our distance. You are a solid person, hard working and driven with a passion - you’re also pretty hip sir.
Keep on keeping on with life and of course, your endavours into Prolog programming
Thanks to everyone else!
If you weren’t here, worry not - it doesn’t mean you didn’t mean anything to me. Quite the contrary, every individual in that class was special to me - even from those I only saw once every two weeks. You all made it an unforgettable experience.
My family away from home