It is with great sadness that SAWIP informs you of the passing of Mikhail Hendricks, who was a member of the 2017 SAWIP team. It is a terrible, personal loss for the SAWIP management and team; we mourn the loss of a life cut short. A life with so much potential to do so much good for South Africa.
Mikhail was a final year law student at Stellenbosch University and hoped to go on to complete a Master’s degree in Human Rights law thereafter. Mikhail was an intern at the Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic, a former Speaker of the SU Student Parliament and did exceptional work with the Constitutional Literacy and Services Initiative (CLASI). Mikhail had a passion for constitutionalism and the constitution of South Africa. In his own words: “ If our Constitution is used in the manner envisaged by the founding mothers and fathers of our democratic order, it could change the lives of millions of South Africans for the better. I want to make it my life’s work to take our Constitution to the people, so that they can buy into our democracy and more importantly, so that they can preserve, protect, and defend their constitution and their democracy.”
The loss of a young leader with so much potential is not only devastating for those who knew and loved him, but for the whole country. Mikhail had an irrepressible optimism for South Africa and held a vision for a more just, equal and inclusive society, where power lays within the hands of citizens and leaders are accountable. It was a vision that inspired all of us in SAWIP and which we hope to keep alive.
Our thoughts go out to all Mikhail’s friends and family and we wish them strength.