In Memoriam: Mr Haffy Haffajee

Elizabeth Robertson, Clare Walker, Haffy Haffajee, Ros Hattingh, John Willemse, Pierre Malan

Messages of condolences

Deepest sympathy to Haffy’s family, friends and colleagues.

God bless

Denise Nicholson

This is so shocking…May he rest in peace.  Mr Haffajee is one of the founding fathers of LIASA!  Our condolences to his wife and family.

Lucille Webster

This is a sad announcement. I hope, from Annamarie’s description, that at most he suffered only a short illness.

I am very pleased to think that Elizabeth & I saw Haffy at the Gala Dinner of the LIASA Conference in October, and I have a couple of photographs of him & Professor John Willemse outside the hall.

It was the first time I’d seen him in many years, and he mentioned, very lightly, that he hadn’t been well but was better. Looking at the photographs, one can see that might not have been strictly true.

I always keep in mind that he had had a major heart operation earlier in the year that he and I contested the election for SAILIS Vice President — 1994 — and I felt I benefited unfairly from his ill health then. But we remained warm colleagues from the early 1980s to this last meeting, and our standing joke was that he always wore a most beautiful tie. Whenever we look into the window of a grand men’s outfitters, Elizabeth & I spot “ties for Haffy”!

But that’s a small part of a much larger cache of warm memories. He was one of the most generous, painstaking colleagues one could have known, and we will miss the sense of his presence backstage in many different capacities over the decades, including in his latter years a LIASA branded clothing expert! We owe him our cunning fold-up lightweight  ponchos that travel with us always, and the earliest generations of LIASA golfshirts !

Please pass our condolences to his family — could you perhaps let us have an email address for one member of the family, to contact them.

Best regards

Clare Walker & Elizabeth Robertson

May his soul rest in Peace

Nthekgeng Mack

We are deeply, deeply saddened by this. Mr Haffajee has served the library profession with absolute distinction as a member of the National Council for Library and Information Services (NCLIS). We will always remember his contribution. Our condolences to his family.

May his soul rest in peace.

Puleng Kekana

Dear Colleagues

“from Allah we come and to Him is our return”

I am saddened at the passing of a LIASA stalwart from whom I learnt so much, not only while serving with him on the EXCO in the early 2000’s but especially engaging in the late night debates over great curry takeaways at Kosmos in the rooms he always shared with Mr. John Tsebe. Those were special times indeed and I will always  remember Haffy fondly.

My deepest condolences to his family and to all the colleagues who worked with him so closely.

May he rest in peace.


Nohra Moerat

Our deepest condolences to Haffy’s family and the LIS sector at large.
May his soul rest in eternal peace and may his legacy live on!

Theresa Mofana

This is a great loss.  As a very new immigrant to South Africa, I have fond memories of being welcomed to my first LIASA Conference by Haffy, who then acted as my guide and introduced me to many future colleagues. His energy and enthusiasm never ceased to amaze me and his devotion to the profession was a source of inspiration.

Peter G. Underwood

Thank you for letting us know this sad news.  Our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Catherine and Gijs Dubbeld and family

Dear LIASA Colleagues

This is indeed very sad news.  I was so pleased to have had a conversation at the recent LIASA Conference in Durban with him where he attended the Gala Dinner with Prof Willemse.  It was lovely to talk to him and catch up.

I also remember fondly the countless late night meetings and debates about LIASA, librarianship and many other topics at Kosmos – these are special memories that I will cherish always.  It was a privilege to have known him and to share a passion for librarianship.

Sincere condolences to his family.  May he rest in peace.


Naomi Haasbroek

Indeed  we belong to Allah

And indeed to Him shall we return.

I am deeply saddened.

To a great friend and mentor, who is no longer in our midst.

He leaves behind a legacy of fond memories for LIASA and the LIS world.

I am grateful to have met and learnt from him, all that I know.

He has been chiefly instrumental in putting LIASA KZN on the map.

Rest in Peace, Mr Haffejee

Kind Regards

Ms Mariam Natalwalla

I, too, am sorry to hear this sad news. It was good to read about the memories colleagues have of Haffy, there are many!

Condolences to the family, and to his many friends.

Christine Stilwell

This is sad news indeed. On my behalf and on behalf of the UP Library I wish to convey our deepest sympathy and condolences to Haffy’s family. May his soul rest in peace.

Robert Moropa

Haffy will be missed. I will remember with gratitude his contribution to the founding of LIASA and the development of policy on the National Library. He was a fine colleague.

Dr Peter Lor

Condolences to Haffy’s family. We will miss him more especially to his contribution in the profession, and will also miss the LIASA Corporate wear we used to get during Conferences at very reasonable prices. At least he has left me with something to remember him about (t-shirts….etc). Rest In Peace dear Colleague!!!!!

Elizabeth Pamela Mavume

Extremely saddened over the death of a Dear Friend Haffy. Our SALI Trust Board Meeting on 23rd November was it then! Sincere Condolences to Rookaya and the rest of the family. MHSRIP

Dr Andrew Kaniki

My deepest condolences to Haffy’s family, his colleagues and friends.

He has been a founding member of LIASA and one of the most committed and loyal members of the library profession I have ever known.

He has been a mentor to many of us and his contribution to the library sector in KZN, nationally and internationally was enormous. and outstanding.

It has been a privilege and honour to learn from and work with Haffy in LIASA and the academic library sector.

May his soul Rest In Peace!

Ellen Tise

Shocking news indeed.

We were with him recently at the SALI  Trust meeting at Liasa House. Little did we know we were seeing him for the last time. May his soul rest in peace.

Rachel More

This is very sad news, hard to hear after being with him at the SALI Trust meeting late in November. On behalf of TUT LIS, I wish to convey our condolences to Haffy’s family and loved ones. May his soul rest in peace.

Ms Vivian Agyei

I am deeply saddened by this news! Haffy was a real stalwart of the LIS sector and he will be sorely missed.  I remember, when I was still Gauteng South Chairperson, how he took care of us at Branch level with all his corporate clothing / items.

Haffy was very fond of people and despite him being retired, he still remembered us after all these years.  I was fortunate enough to see him at the LIASA conference in October this year, and I guess it was a ‘goodbye’.

May his family, friends and the entire LIS find solace in the Lord.

May his lovely soul rest in peace!


Rebecca Senyolo

The passing of Haffee is indeed sad. Yes most of us saw him at the LIASA Conference after a long time.

Condolences to the family on behalf of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University Library staff.

Modisa Khosie

Dear Family and Colleagues

We are terribly sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Haffajee. May our condolences bring you peace during this painful time. May His soul rest in peace.

Programme of Information Studies at the University of Limpopo

My condolences to Haffy’s family and many colleagues across South Africa. He was a stalwart of LIASA especially in the early days of setting up it up and then taking on the challenge to brand it so successfully. He was a committed member of LIASA and will be missed by friends and colleagues in the LIS sector. May his soul rest in peace.

Gwenda Thomas

I wish the family, friends and the entire LIASA community God’s comfort. May his soul rest in peace.

Mpho Masienyane

Our formative years as LIS professionals were spent under Mr Haffejee’s (as we always referred to him) tutelage. We owe much to him in terms of our growth and development as librarians. Our deepest sympathies to Mr Haffejee’s family and friends on his sad passing away. He will be remembered as a major contributor to the professionalization of librarianship in South Africa.

Reggie and Jaya Raju

Limpopo branch would also like to pay tribute to Mr Haffajee. His death is a big loss to LIS profession.

May his soul rest in peace.

Maoka Dikotla (Limpopo chairperson)

Needless to say, KZN Lis will never be the same without our beloved Haffy. He has been synonymous with librarianship for decades. Indeed the profession has lost a king. On behalf of the MUT library community we extend our condolences to the family and loved ones. May the memories we all have and all the moments shared carry us all during this difficult time.

Lala ngoxolo Haffy.

Lindiwe Ndaki.

I would like to fondly express our condolences to the Haffajee family, friends and LIS community, on behalf of the University of the Free State LIS staff. I also had an opportunity to serve LIASA with him as an executive member and gained a wealth of knowledge on  LIASA as an Association from him. We can only thank God for his life and the contribution he has made in the profession, cherish fond memories and ensure that his legacy lives on.

Fare thee well Haffy, till we meet again in the morning.

Keitumetse Betsy Eister

God has given and he has now taken. May God Almighty strengthen the family during this difficult period of loosing the loved one. May his soul rest in peace.

Anna Ditshego

Sympathies to Mr Haffejee Family and Friends, we have lost an LIS Leader!

Shirlene Neerputh

My deepest condolences to Haffy’s family, colleagues and friends.  Haffy also had an impact in my life as a young librarian, it would be wrong to be silent.  He has been a founding member of LIASA , he was the first person to welcome me as young timid librarian at  discussions and meetings of  ULIS 1 and ULIS 2  and as a provincial representative of the northern cape branch at council meetings.  He  helped to be comfortable and participate.  He played a part in my life and everyone he came in contact with.  He made us to be proud and to love our profession and to  be bold.  He was a true Librarian, it was his calling with a sense of humour.

Kind Regards,

Kegomodicwe Ellen Phuthi

My deepest condolences to Haffy’s family, his colleagues and friends.

I remember  Ntate Haffy when we started the LIS transformation charter program I was the youngest in that team.Prof Muxe Nkonoane,Mr John Tseke,Prof Archie Dick, Prof Lesiba Teffo, Mr Mandla Matyumza, Ms Webster and other sharp minds in the profession.

Mr Haffy was always a breath of fresh air,with full of humour and words of Wisdom always brewing from his utterances.

I took some lifelong lessons from you.

May your soul repose in perfect peace.

S.P Hlongwane

To the LIS fraternity,

A few weeks ago I penned an article for Liasa-in-touch regarding the award that I recently received. It is yet to be published, so the thanks I offered in the final paragraph will never be read by one of the two people that I acknowledged. It reads like this : “In a nutshell, winning an award such as this does not come overnight and does not come without hard work, long days and nights and loads of private time commitment. It also does not come without mentoring, and for that I will always be extremely grateful to two people who played a huge role in my grooming, in whose shadow I walked as a young librarian, as a small fish in a very large pond. Haffy Haffajee and Nora Buchanan, I say thank you!”

The loss of Haffy has personal impact for me. I guess I would refer to Haffy as a combination of my “father” and my “brother” in this profession. Although I never worked at the University of Natal either alongside or under Haffy’s directorship, I worked and walked in his shadow. He was my true introduction to the profession. I started my career as the librarian for the Oral and Dental Hospital and Haffy immediately roped me in to join the Natal Medical Libraries Interest Group of SAILIS and that was the start of a long and strong relationship. When you were under Haffy’s wing, his introduction of you to other persons of stature in the LIS profession carried weight, because if Haffy was introducing you then you were worthy of being accepted.

I will always remember Haffy for his hard and earnest work, as he never did anything just to go through the motions. He poured his heart and soul into anything that he was involved in. I remember the long days, and even longer nights, before and after SAILIS and LISDESA, the long drives and the not so posh accommodation arrangements. I will remember the long, long never ending discussions and post-mortems of events. Haffy was strongly opinionated but you did not have to agree with him. The fun was in the debate and differing opinions were respected. I will remember his warm concern for others and his kind heart, as we all became extensions of his family. Haffy and Rookaya entertained us in their home along with guests regardless of where they came from, the hospitality of the Haffajee home was well renowned. I remember witnessing him listening with eyes closed and just when you thought he had dozed off, he would chip into the discussion. On the personal side I remember that my late husband and I called on him to read the Call to Prayer, in the ears of my two daughters, as is the customary practice in Islam, so without hesitation he was at my bedside soon after the birth of both of them.

The lessening of his involvement in LiASA has a story of which I do not know the details. I will however hold on to the guilt of not staying in touch as often as I should have over the past couple of years, for no reason other than this thing called life which keeps us over-occupied and we make excuses instead of making effort. So apart from speaking over the telephone some months ago and talking briefly at the LiASA dinner in October, I neglected to arrange that “let’s meet for coffee sometime”….

Rookaya, may you find solace in knowing that Haffy often spoke about you and the boys. Mohamed and Haroon, you had a great dad! Thank you for sharing him with us. Rest in peace Haffy!

Laila Vahed


When a giant fall all that is left is to learn from the footprints he left and hope we gather enough strength to soldier on. We must take solace in the fact that he served well and in our profession we had him as a light. We must committee though to our hard that we will take the baton he left for us and build the LIS profession.

Mmakwena Molala

On behalf of Rhodes University Library, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to the Haffajee Family and those within the LIS family whom he mentored and served unwaveringly.

I last met Haffy at the 2016 LIASA Gala Dinner where he was in good spirits and excited to be among old friends. Although he registered the “inconvenience” of his illness, he acknowledged his family for ensuring his comfort and well-being. Again one of the first things to be noticed about Haffy was his elegance – ever the smart and fastidious dresser, I enjoyed teasing him about his dress sense and admired how he incorporated his faith with equal aplomb wherever he was. This attention to detail extended into his professional role as LIASA Executive Committee member and Treasurer.

Having worked at LIASA from 2001-2005 during which Haffy was an active EXCO member, I can describe Haffy as a businessman, lobbyist, LIASA advocate, loyal friend and supporter but never a “traditional Librarian”! Highly opinionated, strong willed and at times difficult to work with, Haffy would concede when countered with a rational and reasoned argument. In anticipation of Haffy raising “I have a problem, Chair” LIASA office bearers knew they had to be prepared with the relevant information. With hindsight one recognised that this was his way of ensuring that LIASA was being managed according to its constitution, rules and financial policies. His loyalty to the LIS profession, LIASA, and those he mentored contributed to the formation and growth of LIASA and the hosting of the IFLA WLIC in 2007.

Haffy has left an indelible mark on LIASA and will always be remembered and respected as a stalwart. Rest in peace Haffy!

With sadness and appreciation

Ujala Satgoor

You guarded LIASA just like a mother hen guards her eggs until they hatch. Even at her present stage of adulthood you never lost faith and hope in your baby (LIASA).

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. You are indeed a treasure in the LIS sector, May your heart and soul find peace and comfort.

Tsamaya Sentle Ntate!
Tsamaya Hantle Ntate!
Goed Gaan Vader!

Ugochukwu Okoli

The Haffajee’s family and LIASA members

The University of South Africa (UNISA) Library Services is deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Haffajee.  We have been honoured as a Library and Information Services (LIS) sector to have had a man of Haffy’s calibre.  He has impacted a lot of us across generations in the Library and Information Association of South Africa (LIASA).  He worked hard in ensuring that the LIS sector is transformed and that we succeed in building a well informed and reading nation.  He was an activist Librarian with his friend Mr John Tsebe, Clare Walker and several others who were in the forefront as the sector soldiered on to the launch of the first democratic Library Association- LIASA.  He continued to serve at various platforms of LIASA, in the Reference group of the team that delivered the 7th edition of the LIS Transformation Charter and many LIS bodies that focused in developing the sector holistically.  Haffy had love, passion and commitment in the LIS profession.  His contribution has made a huge difference in the LIS sector’s journey.  He will be greatly missed.

Our sincere condolences go out to Haffy’s family, friends, LIASA members and the LIS sector at large.  May his family be comforted during this difficult time of mourning.  May his soul rest in peace.

Farewell Haffy!

Segametsi Molawa

We were saddened to hear about Mr Haffajee’s passing. On behalf of the NWU LIS Management and staff, i would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, relatives and  friends at this sad time. May his soul Rest In Peace.


Mathew Moyo