Roddy Ward (died 6 July 2015) – an appreciation by Rod Bulman
I met Roddy in the mid-1990s when he undertook a botanical survey for an EIA we were doing on a piece of land in suburban Durban. The land was steep and had the remains of a concrete slab on it several metres high. Roddy did a transect walk and coming to the slab climbed up and over it because to have gone around it would have compromised the integrity of his survey. That sums up Roddy. Integrity and passion for doing it right.
I only found out much later that Roddy was not really his name; in fact it was Cecil James Ward. I also learned, much later, that he had started at the then University of Natal (the year after I was born); that he had been a lecturer; that he had worked closely with the formidable KD Gordon Gray (aka Betty Bottlebrush, under whom I much later studied); that he had a herbarium collection of over 17 000 specimens; and that he worked not just on the coast, but inland and in Namibia, Nigeria and Swaziland.
Roddy had vast experience in aerial photography and photographic interpretation. His collection of slides of the KZN coastline, assembled over many decades, will one day enable scholars to interpret coast line changes more accurately.
His interest in botany was personal. Perhaps my most enduring memory of Roddy is of him reminiscing about a rare tree specimen growing beside a river on the northern part of our coast and how he knew its parent and grandparent before it. We will sorely miss his gentle humour, his expertise and generous nature. RIP Roddy.