It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Prof Russel Botman, the Rector and Vice Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, on Friday night. Russel Botman was a close friend and an outstanding supporter of AIMS, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. He served both as a Trustee of our South African Centre and a Board Member of our pan-African umbrella organisation, the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative. Russel provided invaluable help and advice as our center grew over the years, and both he and Stellenbosch University were enormously supportive of AIMS’ expansion to new centres across Africa, in Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and, this year, Tanzania. It was a privilege to benefit from his wisdom and his vision for a fairer and more caring society and to work together for the growth and development of our continent.