Cape Town - After courageously waging war against colon cancer, former Springbok prop Ockie Oosthuizen passed away with poise and dignity on Tuesday night.
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He was 64.
Oosthuizen's rugby career stared in 1975 when he was 20 playing for Western Transvaal. He moved on to play for Northern Transvaal and was a member of the team that won the Currie Cup in 1981. The tenacious front-ranker captained Transvaal before his retirement.
He made his Test debut against Ireland at Newlands in 1981 and was loosehead prop for the Springbok squad that toured New Zealand during the famous “Meelblom Toer” in the same year. In all, he played nine Tests, with his final international coming against England at Ellis Park in 1984.
Oosthuizen retired from rugby in 1985 and together with Dries Maritz (Transvaal centre) sought to secure better remuneration for players.
His retirement from rugby saw the dawn of what was to become an extremely successful business career specialising in financial services, corporate event management, and winery. He served as executive director of Ocsan Investment Enterprises from 2009.
Ockie’s Oosthuizen Family Wines established the 5-star, award-winning Molenvliet Wine Estate, managed by his son, Ockie jnr. Molenvliet is an international award-winning wedding venue and home to the Annual White Celebration, a spectacular festive occasion.
A devoted and loyal husband, Oosthuizen’s childhood sweetheart and wife for 41 years, Susan, who he referred to affectionately as “Bouts”, says he will always be remembered as a dignified and humble man who unfailingly put others before him.
“His emphasis and devotion to the importance of family, friends and togetherness made him a wonderful and proud father and family man”.
They spent almost 50 years together, during which time Susan played a very significant and actively supportive role as business partner to her husband.
Having made peace with his destiny and being meticulously organised to the end, Oosthuizen was privileged to be in the company of his deeply treasured wife, children and close friends at his bedside. Blessed to be able to say goodbye with dignity, Oosthuizen said “I’ve played my last game, I’m retiring in peace”.
The abundance of messages from near and far bare testament to his popularity and standing in the lives of all who knew him are gratefully appreciated by his family.
Oosthuizen is survived by his wife, three children - Ockie jnr, Mirinda, Karin and their partners Rudi snr and Melissa and two grandchildren, Rudi jnr and Gitte-Mari.
Tributes have poured in on social media: