Living Legend Dr Tony de Freitas: a life well lived

  • 13 April 2017 | Ann Kunz

The most recent presentation in the South African Association for Marine Biological Research’s (SAAMBR) Living Legends series was done by Dr Tony de Freitas. Tony was the executive director of SAAMBR from 1990 to 2004, and currently serves as president of the association.

Tony had the audience enthralled with his story – from hyenas in the garden in Mozambique, to research meetings in Rome; from the mangroves of Inhaca Island where he met his wife, to the leaking windows of the old Sea World aquarium in Durban, Tony shared with us his experiences over a 40-year time span.

Although insects were his first love, Tony did his PhD on prawns, and even described a new genus and species of prawn – Cryptopaneus catherinaea – which he named after Cathy, his wife.

Tony’s sincerity and integrity shone through as he explained how much thought went into the many decisions that he had to make as the SAAMBR executive director. He realised that the Sea World building was crumbling and that he needed to find SAAMBR a new home. After many false starts, meetings and much thought, the future of SAAMBR was finally secured with the development at the Point of the uShaka Marine World complex.

Tony is indeed a worthy recipient of the Living Legend award – his legacy has helped to shape the association and his wisdom will continue to lead us into the future.

Tony is presented with his Living Legend award (from left to right: Judy Mann, Tony de Freitas and Larry Oellermann). (Image: Sea World)

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