In Memoriam: Dr Chad Brevis

18 Aug 2022
18 Aug 2022

It is with heavy hearts that we received the sad news of the passing of a former CFMS graduate, a dedicated colleague and a caring friend to all in the department, Dr Chad Brevis.

Go well, Dr Chad. We will miss you sorely.

Statement by the CFMS Head of Department, Professor Adam Haupt:

We are saddened by the loss of one of our recent graduates, Dr Chad Brevis. I had the pleasure of supervising Dr Brevis’s PhD thesis, Communicative Freedom in a Digital Democracy: Political and Economic Resistance to Freedom of Speech and the Rise of Digital Activism in South Africa. Dr Brevis was a highly motivated researcher who was determined to succeed, despite the challenges he faced.

He was also a mainstay as a Media Studies tutor, who played an active role in offering guidance on academic writing to first-year students, particularly during the pandemic when we offered online education. His dedication, expertise and enthusiasm made an important contribution to teaching and learning during this difficult time.

I was also grateful to Dr Brevis for playing such an active role in mentoring and motivating his fellow postgraduate students in the Centre for Film & Media Studies. After graduating, Dr Brevis went on to take up a position at UNISA. I had hoped to see Dr Brevis continue to flourish and inspire young minds as his career progressed. We feel his absence at this time and would like to extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Tribute by Associate Prof Marion Walton:

I am so very sad to have to write this today, but I would like to honour Chad Brevis for his exceptional dedication and talents as a tutor, and for his qualities as a remarkable colleague and caring human being.

Chad had high expectations of his students. His background in English Literature, and prior experience at UWC meant that he had the skills, language, patience and passion needed to scaffold his students' learning and develop their sense of themselves as writers.

During the pandemic, many students experienced severe difficulties of many kinds. I always knew that if I asked Chad to keep an eye on such students he would find some way to connect with that individual by using whatever platform was accessible to them. If the student wanted to learn, Chad would figure out a way to teach them.

Chad's detailed guidelines and rigorous feedback on written assignments made his tutorials a space where students learned to spread their wings, both as writers and as thinkers. Here Chad's influence went well beyond his own tutorial group. His comments often opened my eyes and nudged me to develop materials which explained our expectations more clearly to students. I have no doubt that the academic literacy materials which Chad worked on for Media & Society this year will help many more cohorts of students improve their writing, editing, argument and analysis skills.

When I tutored with Chad on my team I knew that our WhatsApp group would be a space where tutors would all work together, support one another in difficult moments, and also have plenty of fun. Chad would also often alert us to current events for discussion in our classes, enriching all our classes that week. He was particularly passionate about connecting students with his research area, and regularly highlighted current events where freedom of speech and access to communication were under threat.

At the same time, I would often open WhatsApp and just howl with laughter at something Chad had posted.

In addition to quotations from Shakespeare, Chad would share humorous comments, well-chosen memes, and of course plenty of astute observations about the latest creative techniques of work avoidance his students had devised. It feels just like yesterday that Chad was promising me that he would introduce me to his favourite dishes in a "culinary tour de force" of Athlone. Dr Chad, I am so sad that we didn't get around to doing that!

I'd like to extend my sincere condolences to Chad's loved ones, his former students and to his many heart-broken friends in CFMS.

Go well, Dr Chad. We will miss you sorely.


Memorial Details:

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, 20 August, at St Georges, Athlone.