A judge at the Cape Town Workers' Court died after being crushed by a black mamba while on a holiday in Zambia.
Judge Anton Steenkamp, 57, did what he liked, traveling to Africa with his wife, Catherine, when the snake bite him on Monday, the family said.
"We are devastated, there is no word, an incredible man, his wife, Katarina, is still alone in Zambia, they have traveled to Africa, and we, as a family, have been very, very proud of him," said cousin Rubi Stenkamp for Nevs24.
His close friends described him as a man of integrity, who was kind and generous to the people he encountered.
A close friend Charles Leonard, an arts editor at The Conversation Africa, said Steenkamp was his friend from the 1980s when they were students. Leonard described Steenkamp as an "extraordinary" person.
He said that Steenkamp was kind, generous, loyal and dedicated to better than just society, and he had an extraordinary brain and was one of the best on the bench.
"He was a progressive person, truly devoted to non-racial society. I am totally devastated, often talking on the phone every day," he said.
Although Steenkamp was in Cape Town, he would not miss meeting Leonard when he was at the Johannesburg Work Court.
"He and his wife, Catherine, did what he loved so much – a tour of their favorite Africa," he said.
Steenkamp's friend, famous journalist and author, Anneliese Burgess, said she was "confused" about the news of his death.
"We are absolutely destroyed, none of us can understand what happened, he was such a brilliant man and so mensch," said Burgess.
Burgess recalled the last time she saw Steenkamp on her launch in Cape Town in 2018. She was "so touched" that she tried to be on the launch.
"Stenie," as he was known to all of us old Stellenbosch's leftists, was only one of the best people I knew, and I was completely destroyed by the news of his passing, "she said.
Author, columnist and documentary film maker Mak du Preez said that Steenkamp was a student activist, and when he finished studying within his LLB, he also worked for the anti-apartheid African national weekly Vera Veekblad because he firmly believed in the fight against apartheid and democracy.
"When we closed the door, he returned to the law office and became one of the youngest judges ever. When I think of him, if someone asks" What does integrity mean? " "I say go and see Anthony Steenkamp," he said.
Du Preez said that Steenkamp had a fun side and he was adventurous and always traveled.