David Grossman

June 24th, 1949 - October 22nd, 2021

Biography


David Grossman was born on 24th June 1949, the older son of Phil and Fanny Grossman. Growing up in Sandringham, Johannesburg he completed his schooling at Northview High School, followed by the usual nine-month stint in the army. He registered for a BSc at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in Botany and Zoology, going on to do an Honours year and graduating in 1971. He excelled during these years: his honours project was reworked into a published journal article, he was President of BioSoc and he met his future wife Elly, who he married in 1973. His introduction to conservation followed thereafter when he was appointed a Nature Conservator in the then South West Africa Department of Nature Conservation. He was assigned to the recently proclaimed Von Bach Dam Reserve outside Okahandja and then posted to Halali in Etosha. It was during this stint at SWA NC that he got to grips with the basics of “natuurbewaring”  as it was practised at that time. This experience stood him in great stead: throughout his career he set out to explore fully any project he dealt with, to understand all facets of the project from top to bottom, be it environmental, social and human so as to gain a complete understanding of the interacting complexities thereof.


On returning to Johannesburg he completed a Masters degree (cum laude) under the legendary Jo Grunow at the University of Pretoria in 1981. His topic dealt with herbaceous layer production in Burkea africana savanna. The study site was at Nylsvlei Provincial Nature Reserve, which became a vibrant research Mecca for postgraduates from far and wide. A PhD, completed in 1988, on factors affecting ranching in the North West Transvaal followed supervised by Brian Walker and later Mike Mentis. The PhD completed at Wits rounded his academic qualifications and a new career as a civil servant began.


He was a humble and remarkable man who touched so many lives.  During his working life his 'address' was 'Sandringham' but much of the latter half was spent in his “rooi esel” (the red donkey) and later (after the rooi esel ran ot our legs! after once being stolen and later recovered in Botswana) the white bakkie “die wit merrie” (the white mare) as his Bushman friends used to call it, travelling the width and breadth of the sub-continent, from Namibia to Mozambique, from the Cape to the Selous, and even as far afield as Abu Dhabi to support conservation efforts there. He travelled 100,000’s of km, no, probably more like millions, providing technical advice to individuals, governments and community groups, always seeking equitable and sustainable solutions to the challenges faced. 


Having obtained his PhD in Ecology from Wits University, he made a valuable contribution to environmental science through counselling and mentoring numerous students, from technical to doctorate, adept at assisting all who needed his help at the right level for them. David was able to bring his keen mind and intuitive insight to bear on highly complex situations and he was able to distil out the essential elements in a clear and concise fashion to ensure appropriate management interventions were arrived at. What made this work so valuable was the depth of his knowledge and experience and his ability to bring things together in a holistic, integrated way. 


He played an active role in the Grassland Society of Southern Africa, acting as President in the 1980’s, while also publishing widely in numerous scientific journals, and supported the emerging game farm industry in South Africa where he provided pioneering work on game management and eco-tourism.


David was a tireless supporter of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised members of society, particularly communities whose land and rights to their natural resources had been stolen or significantly diminished.  He assisted the Makuleke Community to take control of their land, providing technical and moral support to the very first Joint Management Board of the Makuleke Region of Kruger National Park. He was a member of the team that brought Madikwe Game Reserve to life in a bid to provide economic empowerment to rural communities in the region. And perhaps most notably, he worked tirelessly for two decades to help Oom Dawid Kruiper and the Khomani San to regain and benefit from their land in and south of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, work that was beset with adversity for the most part, see the legacy of his work here http://www.khomanisan.com/


David also had an irreverent sense of humour and a healthy disrespect for authority and the establishment, which anyone who spent time with him could attest to!


In his ‘late youth’, David eventually retired to Cannon Rocks in the Eastern Cape with his dear wife Elly, and his dogs and cats. His last years were spent whale-spotting and backing the horses (every day he followed the horses on TV!), enjoyed jazz and gardening with Heritage vegetables, reading and still learning, and enjoying time at home rather than in his bakkie! He was at home with Elly and their furry friends when he peacefully passed away on 22 October, surrounded by those he most loved.


His memory will forever be cherished by those whose lives he touched, his many friends and colleagues, and the community members far and wide that he helped. 


Rest in Peace Oom Dawie, we love and miss you.

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Family

About

Name David Grossman
Date of Birth June 24th, 1949
Date of Death October 22nd, 2021
Home Town Cannon Rocks, EC, ZA 
Favourite Saying Fuck Capitalism
Milestone

Milestones

1988 Studied Conservation (ecology) at Wits - University of the Witwatersrand PhD
1990 - 2021 Terrestrial Ecologist, David Grossman and Associates

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Tributes



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Sean Pettit published a tribute .

I have known of Dave's passing for sometime now but only recently come across this site of tributes to a wonderful man. He was my first mentor ( many have said this as well) and his impression on me as a young newly qualified "wannabeecologist" was and is to this day a time of comfort, a time of acceptance and a time of encouragement. I left Nature Conservation after the closure of the Messina Proefplaas , but I remember the debriefing from Dave and the belief in me. As many of you who worked with him will know his knowledge , respect for his fellow beings and off the wall sense of humour remained with us for the rest of his days. I often used to relate stories of our experiences in the bush with my family and friends ( even though many had not met him) - such was my fondness and respect for him. I think of him often and miss him - even though our time together was a few short years in my youth ! Thank you Dave ...!

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Marcia published a tribute .

For our dear friends, comrades in arms, and kindred spirits, David and Elly, we send all our love and light to you.

The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

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Elma Marais published a comment .

On behalf of the Southern African Wildlife Management Association, condolences to Elly and the family. David joined SAWMA at its inception in 1971 and had been a member for 50 years! We are grateful for his support to SAWMA over the years. Regards, Elma Marais (Secretary, SAWMA)

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Marijke Henton published a tribute .

We are all so sad to have lost my brother-in-law David. He made Elly happy since the day they got together. He was always an entertaining and valued guest at family gatherings, joining in fun events such as birthdays and Christmas. The weekends spent at Terra Nostra were great, game drives on the back of the red bakkie during the day and at night, and coming back to his special potjie for supper.
He got on equally well with all the diverse people he worked with and met socially. During meetings he would sit quietly, taking in everyone's heated comments and opinions, and at the end, he would make a quiet sensible suggestion, which somehow everyone agreed was just the right way to do it.
His knowledge was immense, but he remained modest about it and about his his achievements. It was really difficult to get him to talk about his work. He would sidetrack one with an amusing story about the mental effects of anti-malarial drugs when he was in Mocambique, or how to keep a newly-planted forest in the Arabian desert well watered and thriving.
My other sister Irene and I went to the book launch of Patricia Glyn's "What Dawid Knew" in Johannesburg and nobody could have made themselves more inconspicuous than David did. He hung out with the Kruipers, and was nowhere near the smart Joburg set.
We were lucky to have had him as a family member. We all miss him.

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Derek Berliner published a tribute .

Dr Dave Grossman was one of my true mentors.
I am extremely grateful to have come under his wing at a most vulnerable stage in my career. Dave had an enormous positive influence on me and the direction and approach to my profession.
Dave was a kind, generous and an inspiring mentor to me, and so for all who had the privilege to work with him. Dave was largely instrumental in me continuing in my academic studies and me getting my master’s degree. And much late, his influence continued to inspire me to complete my PhD.
Dave’s independent and creative thinking approach to science was legendary, and I like to think rubbed off on me, enabling me to work as an independent consultant.
I have many fond memories of Dave, in particular my time under his leadership at the Agricultural Research Station, and the many enjoyable field trips we did together.
Daves personal influence over many of us, as well as the footprints of his work and charismatic personality will cast a long shadow that will be remembered for many years to come. Rest in peace oom David.

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Marie Emma Christine Rey published a comment .

I met David and Elly through Wits University and Nylsvley Nature Reserve when I was doing my Honours/PhD. We also had a dear mutual friend, also an ecologist, Mark Gandar. So in addition to research, we all shared a passion for nature, and also sitting beside a fire or around a braai, with a cold beer and interesting and fun conversations. The fun usually from David’s cryptic but hilarious comments.
David’s contributions to ecology and nature conservation, and his extraordinary work with the Bushmen in the Kalahari, are widely recognised. However, David could be reserved in some ways and was always under-spoken about his achievements. He had a great intellect; and a professional reputation and knowledge on nature that was awesome. For David the bush was where his heart was, and where he felt at ease…….besides the horse racetrack!!!
While David may have been reticent about his accomplishments sometimes, he was very verbose about a particular breed of four-legged animals, horses. Mark,David and I shared a passion for horse racing. Mark's came from his great grandfather in Russia who rode horses in the circus (if I remember correctly) and mine came from my grandfather in Mauritius who used to train racehorses This love was passed down to my family. Where David got his love for racehorses I do not remember (there may be a link in the past I forget). David and I used to go often to the horse racetrack and meet up with my sister and her husband Patrick (brother to the horse trainer Ricky Maingard) and my parents at Turffontein as they were members. While David and I spent time betting, Elly was actually riding horses as an accomplished equestrian. My only claim to fame is I fell off a horse in first year varsity and missed my physics exam as I lay in hospital for 6 weeks. So horses are clearly the center of this plot. David became well-known and loved at the racetrack, and of course with his wonderful sense of humour and deep interest in horse training, he was accepted like family amongst some of the trainers and horse owners (where he and Elly eventually joined the ranks). David and Elly bought a racehorse Rock Tune. Finally his other dream came true!!
I am privileged to have known David as a friend and to have been part of his life. He really could make a person laugh from one’s belly. We lost touch in the latter part of his retirement when he and Elly moved to the Eastern Cape, but I was happy to see from your tribute Rich that he still “played the horses”. I gave up due to various life circumstances, but will always have those memories of thundering hooves and David shouting in my ear for his horse he had placed a bet on!!!
Elly, I know how intense and enduring your love is for this wonderful but enigmatic man, David. I am so sad for your loss. Take care.

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Tony Palmer published a comment .

Before Dave left us, his thoughts were about which students could benefit from his library. This was the depth of his caring about young people. Dave has been my boss, my mentor and my friend for over 25 years. I once met him by chance at the petrol station at Twee Rivieren. His red bakkie was loaded with San families who had spent some days and nights in the heritage area of the Khalaghadi Park. It was part of the 'deal' for their acquiring access to this land. Dave was unarmed and had spent the nights chasing lions and hyenas away from the families. He was exhausted, and hadn't slept. Dave went on to establish Erin
and to grow the project into an example of the alternative to goat farms. What a wonderful man. so talented, and such a caring person. I hope that the legacy he left the Khomani San will prevail. He gave a very special gift to us, them and the Khalaghadi. Please visit http:// www.khomanisan.com to really appreciate his legacy. Thank you Dave

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Mike Peel published a comment .

Hey David – this is a hard one to write. Friend, mentor, inspiring scientist and incredible human being. My first ‘boss’ you employed a raw ‘wannabeecologist’ into the Department of Agriculture with no experience and only a membership to a less than savory rugby club. I remember going into the field with you in the early days and you saying ‘Mikey you just got to read the veld it talks to you’ – thanks for your great patience I know you must have pulled your hair out (the evidence was clear!). You started GAPRU (Game Production Unit) at the newly formed ARC Grassland Research Centre and nurtured among others Berliner, the Dutliff’s Snyman and Smith, Davies, Peel and Peel, Viljoen, Pauw, Petit, Montagu, Buijs and many others. We left that wonderful phase in our careers the richer both as ecologists and hopefully as people for your having been part of our development.
Some memories: Surrounded by lions in our tents in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and David outsprinting my brother John and I to the car and then locking the door with us on the outside;
Leaving a bit late in the day to fly to Messina experimental farm and David navigating by lighter to make sure we cleared the Soutpansberg as the light started fading and then a slight miscalculation as we soared over the Limpopo into Zimbabwe (a not so friendly country in those days); and and and…
Elly thanks for keeping David on the straight and narrow and for sharing him with us. A big tree has fallen but we will meet again of that I am sure.

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Richard Davies published a tribute .

Jeff Powell & Susan Rottman, Roswell, Nm, Usa published a comment 8 days ago

It was both an honor and pleasure to have known David - and for not long enough. He helped us understand the ecology and culture of South Africa while we were there around a camp fire with his friends. We truly enjoyed listening to his philosophy and his adventures in the bush. He will always be remembered in our minds and hearts.

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Richard Davies published a comment .

Sorry I moved this tribute. It was hidden in one of the photos

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Hannah Reid published a tribute .

David was such a legend when I first met him doing my PhD on contractual national park management in South Africa back in 1998-2002. He scooped me up in his bakkie – not knowing me from Adam – and took me off to the Kalahari ensuring the work I did wasn’t desk-based and self-serving but rather applied and building on the needs of local communities. After that first time, we often travelled to the Kalahari and the Makuleke region together. He was an awesome mentor with a huge heart, strong ethics and enormous fun to boot. The scientist who genuinely understands local needs, values local knowledge, and supports local people regardless of whether the project funding is there or not is a rare breed. After 20 more years working on issues such as community-based adaptation to climate change – most certainly building on the great start David gave me – I returned to see him in 2017 at Cannon Rocks. Again he and Elly scooped me up, this time accompanied by my husband, two kids and two nephews, and showed me this beautiful part of the world. I was so happy to see him again. David I will miss you sorely, Hannah xxxx

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Phillipa Holden published a tribute .

My dearest friend David, I am so sorry you have left us. I will miss our conversations and the chance to ask for your thoughts and advice, sharing a joke, talking about life's wonders, and its aggravations. We travelled around the world together - just our trips to the Kalahari and back took us about three and half times around it! We fought for justice and never gave up on what we believed in. You were a good friend to us all and a shining light for our beautiful Earth and her people. Travel well my friend, you will always be in my heart.

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Geoff Dalglish published a comment .

You and David added so many loving insights and rich experiences to my love affair with the Kalahari and especially making those profound connections with Dawid Kruiper and the Khomani San. Blessings, Geoff

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Wendy Annecke published a comment .

It has taken a while for this news to sink in. Deepest sympathy to Elly. So many people, especially in the Kalahari and Phillipa in Australia will be bereft without you. I recently re-read Phillipa's comment how the Khomani involvement had been a six month project that turned into 15 years - and more. Thank you David for your dedication and generous spirit, the world is poorer without you

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Mary Scholes published a tribute .

Dear Elly and extended family. I was deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of David. Bob and I knew David and Elly from Wits and we had fun for decades. David cared deeply about the communities he worked with, we will all miss him. Mary Scholes

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Phillipa Holden published a tribute .

Community meeting in Banhine National Park, Mozambique

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David Henton published a tribute .

I was very sad to hear about the passing of David Grossman, brother-in-law, uncle to Grant, Mark and Tammy, and great-uncle to Imogen, Jessica and Charlie.
My first meeting with David was circa 1972, before he married Elly and after I had married Maryke, Elly's older sister. I am proud to have been his brother-in-law and friend for virtually 50 years. During this time, family parties, get-togethers and visits ran to many hundreds of occasions. David's presence, humour and intellect (the latter for brighter family members) was a great joy for all of us. Whilst enjoying his stories over the years it was also clear that he fought many battles on different fronts with many successes. He is a person South Africa can be proud of.
The highlights for Maryke and myself would surely be our visits to Elly and David in Okahandja and Etosha, Namibia (then South West Africa) during David's earlier career and in later years to the game farm Terra Nostra, where David had a sectional interest, as well as to their home in Cannon Rocks. He taught me a great deal about game and conservation during those times.
We are a small family, and David's passing leaves a massive gap. He will be sadly missed by all. RIP, David, and to Elly our love and support.

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Tina Sideris published a tribute .

I will miss David's kind and warm friendship, terribly. The massive contribution he made to eco-tourism and social justice was known to me through his work with Eddie who always spoke highly of David's solidity and ethics. And it was that solid presence that was a such comfort to our family when we were shattered by Eddie's brain injury. His unfailing loyalty, sense of humour and sympathetic joy left an indelible mark.

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Tammy Barrett published a tribute .

Dear Uncle David ❤️
The world is definitely a little emptier now that you have left it and you definitely left it better than you found it. You were such a calm and friendly soul, you always had words of kindness and encouragement for all of us no matter what we were attempting. How I would look forward to you and Elly and the rest of the family at our get togethers. Arriving in your red truck with the biggest of smiles and a great laugh.
I will never forget the day I was in the bath and Mom came to fetch me saying 'quickly, Uncle David is coming in an Helicopter'. Wow, so much excitement, not many people have someone get dropped off in a Helicopter in their garden.
Thank you for all our family holidays in the bush, game drives, sharing your knowledge with us with such passion and preparing your yummy potjie. In the past year, thank you so much for your incredible support with our new business venture, you definitely were our biggest cheerleader even from a thousand kilometres away. You always had words of encouragement and often asked hopefully when we would branch out to Cannon Rocks.
Aunty Elly, my heart breaks, no words can make it better, may you find peace in all your wonderful memories. Love and light.
Uncle David you are already sorely missed, hamba kahle, I know you are still with us in spirit.
All our love Tammy and Paul ❤️

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Mark Henton published a tribute .

My Uncle David was the coolest, most awesome guy I knew and I have nothing but fond memories of him.
All weekend I’ve been thinking about being at Oma and Opa’s house during family gatherings when I was around 4. To me, then, Uncle David was the strongest person I knew, and as he walked through the door, I always wanted to hang off his arms, and he would always let me.
Also, the day he landed on the family plot in a Helicopter. I would like to see any other Uncle top that!
Many a memory of birthdays of him chilling outside with his flip flops on and a cup of tea in hand, as we played. I could never convince him though, to come for a swim in the pool.
I love his passion for the outdoors. He took me and my family many times into the bush when I was in my teens. We drove around in the most battered up Land Rover with a lucky dip gear selection, rubbish brakes, hopeful steering and a Coke can for a petrol cap, I loved it. He would point out and share the most amazing things. I loved listening to him as he shared his passion, and it helped inspire my love for the outdoors. I believe that the natural world is a little better off, due to all the hard work of my Uncle. I’m passing on his passion, love and knowledge for the outdoors to my kids, taking them outside whenever I can.
Later on in life now I live in Scotland, we kept in touch through Facebook and was lucky enough to visit him in beautiful Cannon Rocks where he met my daughter. My wife’s memory of him is of a strong, happy, omnipresence, relaxed in his environment, despite the chaos that our toddler ensued.
Going to miss you Uncle.

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Sydney Paul Gosher published a tribute .

Dear Elly We are so saddened to learn of David's passing. Although we did not know him well, we knew that we were always in the presence of someone who had gravitas and a keen sense of the sanctity of nature and, above all, of human life. The world is a poorer place for his loss and we send our deepest sympathy to you. Travel well, David.

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Joanne Kelly published a comment .

Dear Elly
We are so sad to learn of your loss and David’s passing. Indeed this is a difficult time for you but know that we are praying for you and trusting for peace in your heart. We are so grateful David decided on Cannon Rocks as the best living place for you two, as we have had you as such wonderful neighbours. Sending you much love. Sean and Jo

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Greg Stuart-Hill published a tribute .

A Caprivi/Zambezi trip in Namibia

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Marcia Fargnoli published a tribute .

For our dear friends, comrades in arms, and kindred spirits, David and Elly, we send all our love and light to you.

We share our musical rendition of the poem "Stolen Child" with you, with me on the Native American flute and Chris reciting the poem as he did around the campfire with Dave. Please listen here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BY_pGyJ6KTcvSnC2FnYe9_nHE6rS95QW/view?usp=sharing

The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

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Craig Beech published a tribute .

David, I did not know you long and perhaps not well, but the little time I spent with you, you etched a little something on my heart. This comprised a different take and approach to life and conservation, very different to that which had been taught. And a much better one. That I have held onto ever since. Thank you.

Gazing into Kgalagadi campfires, we chatted over beer, and I heard of your amazing work in that little corner of the world. You and Phillipa have done so much. You shared this humbly. Thank you for what you gave whilst here. My love of the Kgalagadi is a tribute to you, and each time I visit I will raise a glass. RIP in Dr Grossman.

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Elly Grossman published a tribute .

Adrian Henri’s Talking After Christmas Blues

Well I woke up this mornin' it was Christmas Day
And the birds were singing the night away
I saw my stocking lying on the chair
Looked right to the bottom but you weren't there
there was
apples
oranges
chocolates
. .. . aftershave
but no you.
So I went downstairs and the dinner was fine
There was pudding and turkey and lots of wine
And I pulled those crackers with a laughing face
Till I saw there was no one in your place
there was
mince pies
brandy
nuts and raisins
. . . mashed potato
but no you.
Now it's New Year and it's Auld Lang Syne
And it's 12 o'clock and I'm feeling fine
Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot?
I don't know girl, but it hurts a lot
there was
whisky
vodka dry Martini (stirred but not shaken)
.... and 12 New Year resolutions
all of them about you.
So it's all the best for the year ahead
As I stagger upstairs and into bed
Then I looked at the pillow by my side
. . .I tell you baby I almost cried
there'll be
Autumn
Summer
Spring
. . . . and Winter
all of them without you.
Adrian Henri 1932-2000

Thank you for being “you” for 53 years.

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Richard published a tribute .

A big tree has fallen. I will always remember David for his humility, his unrivalled knowledge, his empathy, his support for the most vulnerable, his contribution to social and environmental justice and his friendship. A better mentor you could not want. He has a laid a foundation on which we must build more resilient communities and a more sustainable world. RIP Oom Dawie

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Mike Mentis published a comment .

Deeply saddened by David’s passing, but let us celebrate his life. It was a privilege and a joy to have known and worked with him.

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Greg Stuart-Hill published a comment .

So sad that Dave has left us. What a legacy. Not just technically but also an example of how to conduct oneself. Deep thinking, challenging the establishment and status quo, but yet always being sensible and practical. Despite his intellect he was humble and patient and had this knack of allowing others to find their own way. A ceaseless defender of the disadvantaged with a powerful sense of justice. I remember his wicked sense of humor and the many fun times we had together. I count myself very lucky to have Dave as mentor and friend.

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Duncan Paul published a comment .

I'm so sorry and saddened to hear of Dave's passing. A very special and unique personality who contributed enormously to conservation in Southern Africa. RIP Dave, you will certainly be missed

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Brian Walker published a comment .

I was so sorry to learn from Elly that Dave had passed away. Apart from the huge contribution he made to southern African ecology, he was a fine person, marked by his intelligence, empathy for others and his irreverent sense of humour. I remember I always had to be careful in how I phrased things in discussions with him because he was very quick on picking up on weaknesses or contradictions in an argument. We kept in touch once a year, at Xmas, over the 35 years since I left Wits. I know how much you must be missing him, Elly, but I'm sure that in your minds he's still with you.

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Marg Friedel published a comment .

What a wonderful man! David smoothed the bureaucratic way when I first spent time in South Africa with my family, on a fellowship. My first meeting with David in 1985 was unforgettable. He was very welcoming, as you'd expect, and he gave me the South African flag that should have been displayed on his desk but had been tossed in a drawer. He also explained that the size of carpet under his desk was proportional to his importance in the institution (it should have been much bigger than it was). A great start to a 35 year friendship. At one point in our six-month stay, he told a lady bureaucrat that he would vomit on her floor is she didn't shift some bureaucratic impediments (which were many) to my activities and she was sufficiently alarmed to accede. I remember laughing a lot. Over many years subsequently David's concern, described already by others, for the Bushmen and for conservation, was deeply impressive. It was a joy to visit David and Elly when an opportunity arose, and it's hard to believe the exchange of Christmas emails with David will be no more. Farewell David and love to you, Elly.

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Willem Van Riet published a comment .

Dear David, you where truly a unique person and our days together on the North West Parks will never be forgotten. These memories will never leave.me.

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Moray Hathorn published a comment .

I will always remember the days spent with David, Phillipa, Kobus Pienaar and others at Andriesvale as we sought to help the Khomani San establish a sustainable basis for their future. David's knowledge and wisdom was in this and in other instances authoritative and indispensable. Not to mention the pleasure of his company. Thank you, David. I am much saddened by your passing. My condolences to your wife, who I did not meet.

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Ilse Aucamp published a tribute .

Oh David, what sad, sad news this is! You were a wonderful and caring soul, and always an advocate for social justice. I learned so much from you, and admired you so much. It was a privilege to know you. You will keep on inspiring us forever. Be blessed, and keep stirring! All those you left behind are in my thoughts.

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Ignas Heitkonig published a tribute .

It’s hard to come to terms with the passing away of colleagues and old friends, people I admired already when I was a young PhD student at Wits in the early 1980s. David developed the field of social justice in (and for) conservation, and he has set standards for generations to come. Thanks, old friend, for showing the way.

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Piet Theron published a comment .

I am deeply saddened by Dave’s passing. He was such a lovely, kind and inspirational man who led the way in what conservation should really be for people and the custodians of land and natural resources. Rest in peace David Grossman, you will be sorely missed. We must carry with your work to build on your incredible legacy.

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Peter Schwarzenberger published a tribute .

I remember Dave as my best friend in High School, at Wits and the army.
I fondly remember modifying Minis and racing them. You could handle a car!!. Our numerous trips to Chobe, Moremi and the Kalahari was always filled with adventure but you were a great teacher to me and others that were on these various expeditions. You taught me to love nature and the outdoors which I still enjoy here in the US.
Most memorable moments were when you Dave drove all that way to collect me from my 3 month army duty in Namibia and took me to your house so I could have my first hot shower and decent meal. You surprised me on my 50th birthday party here in the US. Your generosity was exceptional and even though we had not seen one another for many many years, you were my best friend (Boet)
I love you Dave
Peeteboy

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Chris Bakkes published a tribute .

I met Dave in the early 90's on the beautiful Terra Nostra bushveld Game Farm with my brother Johannes and Piet Du Plessis and spent many happy times with them there. We would meet sporadically through the years and had some epic camping adventures in the Palmwag Concession in North West Namibia, with my dog Tier and a brown hyena keeping us up all night. It was a privilege to meet him again towards the end of his life and also befriending Elly. Principled, compassionate and dedicated conservationists like them are few and far between. The world is a poorer place. Especially in these crucial times when conservationists like Dave are needed more than ever.
Elly, you are in our thoughts. Call us if you need us.
Chris and Marcia

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