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Coach Chris a mentor who will be missed

A father, an evangelist, a mentor and a coach … Chris Jantjies (68) touched the lives of many people, in many ways.

Jantjies, a resident of Highbury, passed away in his sleep on Monday morning 7 September.

Upon his retirement at age 65 Jantjies pursued a passion to become an athletics coach.

Louis Mouton, principal of Mikro Primary, said Jantjies assisted with hockey and athletics (high jump and hurdles) coaching at Mikro the past two years, and was a very popular coach.

Head of athletics at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Glen Bentley, said Jantjies was a soft-spoken mentor who joined the University Athletics Club last year as a development coach.

“He always emphasised the importance of having proper building blocks to ensure that young athletes transition with ease into the senior ranks. He assisted with athletics coaching at a number of feeder schools to UWC”.

Bentley said Jantjies did not only volunteer, but at times used his own resources to assist young student athletes from struggling communities. “One of the reasons for this was that he saw a gap of young people struggling to get into university, so he served as a link between the athletics club and the feeder schools.”

Lizl Rodrigues, eldest daughter of Jantjies, says her father grew up in Elsies River and moved to Highbury in 1991 with his wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Lizl and Janine.

Lizl says her brother Lance was a year old when their mother died in 1994.

“He continued to raise us on his own until the Lord called him home.”

She says her father was not ill and always tried to stay healthy.

“As a family we had spent his birthday (6 September) together and he went to bed peacefully never to awake again.’’

Jantjies worked as a credit controller for Standard Bank for many years and was an avid church minister who served as evangelist in the New Apostolic Church in different congregations in the Elsies River and Kuils River areas, says Lizl.

As his children they were proud of his endeavour to become an athletics coach at age 65.

“It really taught us that you are never too old to learn and live out your true passions in life.”

Jantjies started his coaching career with the Bottelary Athletics Club before he got involved at UWC. Besides Mikro he coached at The Settlers High School and was also involved in community-based work with WP athletics at several schools in less-privileged communities.

“He really loved doing this and took these children as his own and always went the extra mile for them. He never did anything with the expectation of receiving anything in return and was always just happy to make a positive difference in someone’s life,” says Lizl.

Jantjies also leaves behind a sister, Maria Carstens, and two grandchildren, Luke and Leah (Rodrigues).

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