Heinz Prekel Obituary, Death – Prof Heinz Prekel, who led South Africa’s transition from imperial to metric measurements, died at home on Thursday, at the age of 89. Prekel was instrumental in converting South Africa from furlongs to grams, meters, and litres. According to the Afrikaans newspaper Rapport, Prekel died as a result of complications from a fall, with his wife Truida (82) by his side. South Africa’s transition to the metric system was preceded by the exchange of British imperial pounds, farthings, and shillings for decimal-based rands and cents.
South Africa’s metrication, according to the report, is one of the most successful in the world. According to Rapport, Prekel wrote a brief summary of his colorful life last year. Prekel was born to German immigrants seeking a better life in South Africa. He traveled to Germany with his parents when he was six years old, in 1939. During their visit, the Second World War broke out, and they were only able to return to South Africa at the end of 1950. They frequently went hungry during the war, and Prekel claims he hasn’t been able to eat caraway seeds since.
He also admitted to being forced to join the Hitler Youth, an organization he despised. “I despised the brainwashing attempts,” Prekel wrote. “There was no room for original thought.” Without a matric certificate, he returned to South Africa and enrolled in Iscor to become an artisan. A series of fortunate coincidences led to his doctorate in physics from the University of Pretoria. He attended Unisa’s school of business leadership after completing his work on South Africa’s metrication.
He went on to lecture at universities all over the world. Prekel contracted Covid-19 in August and recovered. However, at the end of September, he slipped and fell, necessitating emergency brain surgery. He was hospitalized for six weeks. Truida and two caregivers helped him spend the last two weeks at home. The Prekels celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary in November. Lu-Marie Sobey, Prekel’s stepdaughter who lives in Perth, Australia, survives him.