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In Memory of Andries Burgers (1937-2008)

Last modified: 2013-08-17 by pete loeser
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Andries Burgers
Andries Burgers
England 2007

Andries Burgers
Andries Burgers
Berlin IVC

Andries P. Burgers (1937-2008)

Image by Martin Grieve       His personal flag
  • Born 10 November 1937 in Zeerust, Western Transvaal (South Africa); Died 31 August 2008 in Cape Town (South Africa). He was 70 years old.
  • Married to Wendy in January 1966 and they had five children.
  • Andries retired as a Rear-Admiral (Junior Grade) in the South African Navy in November 1991.
  • Andries authored two books, "Sovereign Flags of Southern Africa" (1997) and "The South African Flag Book – the history of South African flags from Dias to Mandela" (2008), both of which are considered modern classics on South African flags, the latter being the most comprehensive book on South African flags ever published.
  • His work on the FOTW Dictionary of Vexillology remains one of his greatest vexillological memorials to many.
  • Andries joined the Southern African Vexilological Association (SAVA) in 1994.
  • Andries's dry wit and insightful input was a much valued part of his contribution to FOTW.
  • He was a driving force behind the establishment of the Cape Chapter of SAVA and became its first Chairman in 1995. He remained its Chairman until June 2000.
  • Andries was head of the organizing committee for the XVII International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) which was successfully held in Cape Town in August 1997.
  • He also attended the ICV in Berlin (2007) and a paper he researched entitled the "Vexillology of the Anglo-Boer War" was presented on his behalf at the ICV in Victoria (1999)
  • Andries was posthumously awarded the VEXILLON by the Board of FIAV at the ICV in Yokohama (2009) for his contribution to vexillology as a result of his research and the subsequent publication of the South African Flag Book. He was also named a Fellow of the Federation at the same time.
  • The top photo of Andries was taken in England after the Berlin ICV in 2007 while he was visiting David Prothero.
  • The bottom photo of Andries, was from the Berlin ICV in 2007, and taken by Rob Raeside.
    • Messages from/for his FOTW Family and Friends:

      I am sorry to inform you that our friend and colleague, André Burgers, passed away peacefully last night from complications arising from Myeloma (blood/bone cancer). He had recently been having dialysis and his condition had deteriorated over the past few weeks, when it was discovered that he also had cancer. He had been in ICU at the 2nd Military Hospital (Cape Town) since last Friday.
      We are especially saddened by the news as his book on South African flags had only just been published last month, but we are grateful that at least he was able to see the final product following many years of passionate endeavour on his part.
      On behalf of the Executive and members of SAVA, we extend our heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences to his family.
      Bruce Berry, Secretary/Treasurer, Southern African Vexillological Association (SAVA)

      I am very sad to hear of Andries's passing, although having been in close contact with him and Bruce, I was aware that things were not good. I first met Andries at a SAVA AGM many years ago and he had this immense presence about him. It was like you were all sitting in a dark room and he came in and switched the light on. He was very kind to me personally and had a terrific sense of humour. Andries was a very knowledgeable person as most people on this list will know. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this very sad moment in time. We will miss you Andries, and so too will the world of Vexillology.
      Martin Grieve, Vorna Valley, Midrand, South Africa

      I join all members of SAVA, FOTW, and of course, his family in expressing my sorrow upon hearing of the death of André Burgers. Not only was he a distinguished vexilkilogist, he was also the epitome of a true officer and gentleman. I hope that in the not too distant future the government of the Republic of South Africa will see fit to name a warship after him - perhaps SAVA could adopt this as a project.
      Ron Lahav, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

      This is indeed sad news. I have been exchanging messages with Andre for quite some time, when we finally had chance to meet in Berlin where he has proved to be a real gentleman as I pictured it from the correspondence. I also had the pleasure to work with Andre on the DoV project where we shall sorely miss his inputs. Not so long ago he had informed us on his decision to quit working on the DoV due to his serious health status, but we were all hoping that this is just temporary and that at least he shall occasionally join us for quite some time yet.
      Also, recently we had the pleasure to hear from Andre nice news on publishing his SA flag book. I had no chance to see the book, it should still be somewhere on a mail ship from SA to Europe, but I am convinced that it shall prove itself to be a major work. I was looking forward to read the book and to discuss the issues with him - as any good book answering many question, it surely raises ever more. When Andre announced the issue of the book as a great burden that he wanted to see through, I was not aware totally what he meant.
      Željko Heimer, Zagreb, Croatia

      This is very sad news. I knew Andries only very briefly but he struck me as being a courteous and knowledgeable person. A great loss indeed.
      Jan Mertens, Edegem, Belgium<

      May I join everyone else in expressing my condolences to the Burgers family. The few exchanges I had with him Andries were marked by his great patience and generosity; the community will be poorer for his absence.
      Eugene Ipavec, Tustin, California USA

      Sad day for vexillological world. Rest in peace, Andre.
      Vanja Poposki, Skopje, Macedonia

      These are very sad news. I am very relieved that Andries had the chance of seeing his latest book published, a complementary copy of which, arrived today. I'm browsing it now with renewed admiration and awe. I’m honored to have received it. Andries was a true gentleman and he insisted in thanking me thus for some minor reviewing of Portuguese names I made for him years ago. Andries new book will be dully added to our Bibliography upon the next update, but it would be a good opportunity to complete his personal vexillological bibliography — at the moment we list only four entries.
      António MARTINS-Tuválkin, Lisbon, Portugal

      I have to admit that my first reaction, even before thinking "How can that be: He was so full of life," was: ""Now we'll never finish discussing a standard for describing flags." That's what we first mailed about, some time ago.
      Then last year in Berlin, on learning I was a Dutchman (with my name-badge in disarray), he asked me whether I knew Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, as he wanted to meet me in person. So we did meet in person, and mixed Afrikaans and Dutch in several shorter and longer conversations that week. Most of them actually weren't on flags themselves, but on history, on society, on language, or simple shared observations during the events.
      I came to know him as someone with a spirit younger than his distinguished looks, always sharing precious bits of life, of which he seemed to have so much, through his views and observations. Since then, in my mind's eye, I've pictured him at the next FIAV congress I went to, whenever that would be. With so much life there was no reason to assume he would not be there. An absent friend.
      Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, Sneek, Frisia, The Netherlands

      Andrés´ passing came at a time of crisis in my own life, a consequence of which was that I was unable to respond to Bruce's message at the time. I was first contacted by André in 2000 or thereabouts (after my website opened), since he wanted advice on the heraldic aspects of his book. We communicated a fair bit over the years, and he was always willing to help in my inquiries. His knowledge of flags was extremely broad, yet he approached his book scientifically, asking advice of those who might know particular aspects better. Not only his book, but also his work on the Dictionary of Vexillology has been a major contribution to this field of study. He was also a thorough gentleman. Vexillology is the poorer without him. It is a blessing that he was able to see his book in print before he died, and I was blessed in receiving a copy from him. I salute him.
      Mike Oettle, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      in memoriam ce 2008  Image recoloured by Mark Sensen