South African endurance stalwart Derek Liebenberg, an FEI 4-star judge and technical delegate, chief steward and course director, has lost his battle with cancer. The 54-year-old died on Wednesday.
Liebenberg, affectionately known as Zulu, was appointed as the FEI’s regional development officer for Africa in 1998 and worked tirelessly to develop endurance throughout southern Africa from his home in Johannesburg.
He officiated at many FEI events around the world and at championships in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. He was also FEI chief steward at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games endurance test event last year, but was too ill to attend the Games themselves this northern summer.
“Derek made a huge, life-long commitment to endurance and its community, and we will be forever grateful for this,” the FEI’s director for endurance, Ian Williams, said.
“He will be remembered as the tall and imposing man in charge at the vet gates at endurance events around the world, always prepared to help with a warm and ready smile for everyone.
“Zulu also played top-level rugby in South Africa before coming to equestrian sport. He will be sorely missed by those who witnessed his commitment to all types of sport.”
The FEI expressed its condolences to Liebenberg’s wife, Caroline, and his two daughters, Jannecke and Erin.
The service to remember Derek Liebenberg will be on Monday, October 13 at 2pm at Christ Church, 34 Gordon Road, Blairgowrie, Johannesburg.