Raymond Basil van Staden was born on 27 January 1961 at the coastal town of Amanzimtoti in KwaZulu-Natal. He studied Security Management, Forensic Investigations and Criminal Justice as well as International Studies.

A security industry specialist and risk adviser, Van Staden lost his life on Good Friday, April 2010, after a breathtaking feat trying to rescue a drowning child.

At noon on that fateful day he was walking along the beach when he spotted a man in great difficulty trying to rescue his two children from a whirlpool in an unguarded section of Warner Beach, near Ellcock Road, Amanzimtoti, near Durban.

The father managed to push his daughter onto the beach, while the son, Christiaan de Klerk, a nine-year old, struggled to stay afloat. Both men tried to save Christiaan before the rescue craft arrived, which was too small to take all of them on board. The child was the first to be rescued, the intention being to return for the two men. But bothe of them drowned before the boat returned. The de Klerk family was on holiday in KwaZulu-Natal when the tragedy struck. 

Van Staden had an immeasurable love for animals, and adopted several of them. He was a well-known personality in the security industry since 1980, servicing even big organisations such as Spoornet in various aspects of security. In the early 1990s, Mr van Staden started a company providing forensic services, which was responsible for protecting figures such as Hansie Cronje, Steffi Graf and Anna Kournikova.

He died a hero in trying to save the life of another human being.

In recognition of his heroic, selfless act of bravery, the State President, Jacob G Zuma, posthumously conferred Raymond Basil van Staden with the Order of Mendi for Bravery in Bronze on 27 April 2011.

Collections in the Archives