Kirstenbosch curator dies

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden curator, Philip le Roux.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has paid tribute to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden curator Philip le Roux who died in hospital after a cycling accident.

Mr Le Roux, who lived at the gardens, was left in a critical condition after a collision with a vehicle in Suikerbossie Road, Hout Bay, on Sunday December 2 at around 7.30am. He died at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on Wednesday December 12.

Mr Le Roux had been an employee at Sanbi for 31 years. He first served as the Kirstenbosch estate manager from 1987 to 1999 then became the curator.

Christopher Willis, Chief Director: Conservation Gardens and Tourism Division of Sanbi, said Mr Le Roux’s untimely passing is a huge loss to the organisation.

“His passion, leadership and many contributions towards promoting sustainable practices at Kirstenbosch and making it one of the world’s top botanical gardens will serve as his legacy.”

Mr Willis said that initiatives like the Tree Canopy Walkway, the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts and the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show were championed by Mr Le Roux.

“Sanbi would like to offer its sincere condolences to Philip’s family and all who knew him and worked with him during his proud tenure as curator of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden,” said Mr Willis.

Mr Le Roux’s wife, Michelle, shared a post on his social media thanking everyone for their overwhelming support, care and love.

“For many, the news of Philip’s accident came as a terrible and sudden shock. But as a family, and some close friends and colleagues we were given 10 days to be with Philip due to the incredible assistance that he received at the scene,” she said.

Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch from the Hout Bay police said that a case of culpable homicide has been opened and no arrests have been made.