Gauteng Covid-19 death: talented ad man, writer, artist who loved God

Louis Wilsenach, 79, died on Monday at a private hospital on Gauteng's West Rand, becoming the province's first Covid-19 death.
Louis Wilsenach, 79, died on Monday at a private hospital on Gauteng's West Rand, becoming the province's first Covid-19 death.
Image: Facebook

An extremely talented writer and artist who loved God. A man who played a huge role in his community and was a mentor to many.

This is how Krugersdorp pastor Jannie Pelser described 79-year-old Louis Wilsenach, who died on Monday at a private hospital on Gauteng's West Rand, becoming the province's first Covid-19 death. Wilsenach's family confirmed his death on social media, where tributes were subsequently posted.

It's believed that Wilsenach contracted the disease in March after taking a flight back to Johannesburg from George.

“He was an extremely interesting guy. His appearance and everything about him was unique. He was a very religious man who spoke boldly about his love for God. He was definitely one in a million,” Pelser told TimesLIVE on Wednesday morning.

Pelser said Wilsenach did a lot of missionary work and owned an advertising agency.  

He said Wilsenach was also a writer and artist. Wilsenach wrote the Afrikaans book Aha! Die fenomeen which highlights inspirational stories about famous people.

Pelser said they met years ago through church groups and he later interviewed him on Radio Kansel where he works as a presenter.

He said Wilsenach travelled a lot and would often paint church buildings he had seen on his trips.

“At the end of last year I was busy compiling a 2020 diary named ‘Jannie en vriende’ and I asked him to provide me with a few drawings for the diary.”

The two would occasionally meet at a local coffee shop in Muldersdrift to brainstorm ideas.

“Louis probably sent me 14 drawings of church buildings across the world to add to my diary.”

Pelser said he learnt via Facebook that Wilsenach had been admitted to hospital.

“I am very sad and shocked that he died. It’s a pity that we couldn’t be there for him in hospital. If I knew I would have really wanted to be there for him and support him.”

A string of heartfelt messages by those closest to him were posted on social media.

“RIP Louis Wilsenach, my mother's cousin. An immensely talented man: artist, philosopher, mentor to many and man of God. Our hearts are with his children and grandchildren. Covid-19 has taken him to his Father,” a message read.

A second read: “Very sad to hear of our friend, Louis Wilsenach’s passing yesterday — such an amazing man. Our deepest condolences to his precious family.”

A third read: “And then it hits home real hard when someone you know dies of the virus. RIP Louis Wilsenach. Now you are at peace — with Jesus. May this be your biggest AHA Moment ever my friend.”

Former colleagues also paid tribute to him. Among them was the Ad Talent Recruitment Specialists group, which shared, “Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Louis Wilsenach. He was a great ad man and we were privileged to have worked with him for many years.”

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