Konstantin was one of the most sparkling and involving intellects I have ever had the privilege to encounter, added to which he was also so warm and generously disposed to others. The richness of his gifts and personality always gave the impression that he would outlive us all–which makes this departure the crueller, though the manner of his fighting it so so courageous. I have been reading through emails from him, from the time I took over supervising him, and have been re-reminded of all these qualities, and also that other gift we’ll remember him for, great writing, fantastic style.
Professor Elleke Boehmer
World Literature in English
English Faculty, University of Oxford
I write with a heavy heart to express my deep condolences for your loss. Konstantin was an extraordinary young man and the shock of his passing is felt very keenly by his colleagues and students at UCT. There has been an outpouring of grief from those who worked with him, and most particularly the students for whom he was such an inspiring presence. I had the very good fortune of working closely with Konstantin when I joined the Department of English at UCT in 2013 — it was he who welcomed me the most warmly, and who offered me intellectual community in this new space. But my memories of him reach back much further to when I was a PhD student and this precociously bright undergraduate student joined our postgraduate reading group and — typically — kept us all on our toes. The only comfort I can offer in this devastating time is to assure you that he touched many lives, deeply.
Associate Professor and Head of Department
Department of English
University of Cape Town
One of my most cherished memories of my entire time [at Oxford] was a mad expedition to London to see Bheki Mseleku play in a smoky underground jazz spot. Konstantin philosophizing the whole way there – and then quiet, sitting back, breathing in the musical genius. Feeling intensely every moment – somehow seeming to experience it more deeply than anyone else. We ended up walking through the streets of London for hours – lost in the rain searching for an Oxford tube at 3 in the morning. But the mischievous twinkle in his eyes, a smoke hanging from his lips, and the deepest conversation on life and the universe meant we didn’t even notice. That night it felt like we were infinite. What a beautiful soul.
I clearly remember the first time I met Konstantin. He was, one of the first people I met. Konstantin came to Rhodes House at the start of the new academic year asking to meet the new South African arrivals, because “you know, things can get tough here and we need to look out for each other”. He was right, and he did.
Konstantin was not that good at making social engagements. Yet we would often bump into each other on a street corner, or at King’s Arms, and end up having two hour conversations. I learnt so much from him.
He is one of the smartest people and one of the kindest people I have ever met. He had a gift with words, but would never use words lightly. He spoke with intention and always meant what he said. Moreover, he was sensitive, sincere, deeply sympathetic, and he really cared. He really cared about his friends. He really cared about South Africa. And he really cared about English literature. For him, literature was more than a subject, and teaching more than a profession.
I believe that Kontsantin held the world to a higher standard than the rest of us. This explains his sometimes cynical sense of humour. He was so-not-impressed by people who displayed wealth, status, and or any semblance of self-importance.
Konstantin, you were one of my dearest friends and truly a special person. I will miss you dearly.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
I was shocked to learn, through my colleague Elleke Boehmer, of the tragic death of Konstantin. I knew him very well indeed – I was his MSt supervisor when he was a graduate student at Wadham (2007-2008). Konstantin was brilliant, funny, a political animal and a natural orator. It is a huge loss, especially since time did not allow him to construct a fuller intellectual legacy.
Professor Ankhi Mukherjee
Associate Professor, Faculty of English Language and Literature
Tutorial Fellow, Wadham College
University of Oxford
I would like to record my heartfelt sorrow at the death of your son, Konstantin. He was my student for a number of years and, thereafter, a valued colleague and close, trusted friend.
Again, please accept my sympathy at your loss. Many of us will miss Konstantin a great deal.
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me, in his contact with myself and other people via email and twitter over the difficult times, is the level of wry humour and regard for his friends he maintained, and the courage and generosity towards others this implied. But then, this humour, and his care for and understanding of others, is just one of the reasons Konstantin has been so loved by to his friends – and will continue to be, despite his passing.
Department of English Literature
University of Cape Town
De Beers Chair
Konstantin and I met at UCT where we studied law together – I say studied but we really spent and awful lot of time doing anything but. Together with Karen, our club of three was united in our love of Observatory, gossip and lengthy wine-fuelled discussions/rantings. Following graduation, both Konstantin and I wound up in Oxford – on opposite sides of the town and gown divide – but nevertheless bopping to Free Nelson Mandela, Wadham style, and laughing about our endless mishandling of imminent adulthood.
There are so many stories, so many good times – he was a truly great friend and generally brilliant man … It goes without saying how deeply he will be missed.