In 1978 Snyman was invited to be Dean of Kimberley as successor to Thomas Stanage and was installed as Dean and Rector of the Cathedral on 9 June 1978. He was to serve St Cyprian’s Cathedral until the early 1990s.
FORMER Dean and rector of the St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kimberley, the Reverend Canon Robin Roy Snyman, died in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning following a long illness.
Snyman was born at Waterval Boven, in what is now Mpumalanga, in 1934 and was educated at Pretoria Boys’ High School, going on to obtain a Licentiate in Theology through the Church of the Province of Southern Africa.
According to an article by David Morris, Snyman’s his first posting, in 1957, was as an assistant curate at St Saviour’s Anglican Church in East London, going on to serve in a similar capacity at the Grahamstown Cathedral in 1960. He then served at St Leonard’s, Heston, in London from 1964.
Returning to South Africa, Snyman was instituted in 1966 as rector of the Good Shepherd Parish in East London. He was appointed as chaplain at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, in 1968.
Snyman was appointed to the post of rector and regional dean at St Boniface Church Germiston, in the then Transvaal Province, in 1971. He served as Mayor’s Chaplain there in 1976.
In 1978 Snyman was invited to be Dean of Kimberley as successor to Thomas Stanage and was installed as Dean and Rector of the Cathedral on 9 June 1978. He was to serve St Cyprian’s Cathedral until the early 1990s. During this time he was appointed Vicar General (1979 and other occasions when the Bishop was out of the Diocese). He served under Bishops Graham Chadwick and George Alfred Swartz.
He was also Priest in Charge to the small parish of St Hubert’s Hartswater, and served as a chaplain to the South African Defence Force, at a time when sizable groups of conscripted soldiers attended services at the Cathedral weekly. One of them was moved to refuse to carry arms after a service at St Cyprian’s in the later 1980s (as revealed in a sermon at the cathedral in August 2009).
Snyman was warden to the sisters of the Community of St Michael and All Angels in Bloemfontein from 1986.
Snyman was Archdeacon of Kimberley from 1988.
Upon his retirement from his post as Dean of Kimberley in 1991, Snyman went to Port Elizabeth as Vice-Provost and Rector at the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin. In 1996 he was appointed chaplain to the Prince Alfred’s Guard Regiment, Port Elizabeth.
He retired at the end of January 2001.
Snyman was a member of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis and served as guardian to its Africa South Region from 1995. He was also an associate chaplain of the Venerable Order of St John.
On 7 December 2008, his golden jubilee was celebrated in a service in the Cathedral in Port Elizabeth. A lone bagpiper piped the people into the service.
Snyman was also an Honorary Life Member of the Pretoria Boys’ High School Old Boys Association and was a member of Rotary from his days in Germiston. He served as president of a branch of the organisation in Kimberley, and was involved in Rotary in Port Elizabeth and in 1999 he was made a Paul Harris Fellow.
Eccelsiatical honours include being made an honorary canon of Kimberley Cathedral (1992), the Bloemfontein Cathedral (1997) and of Port Elizabeth (2008).
He was also the author of various articles in church periodicals and magazines, and of a book Travelling along the Anglican Way.
Several tributes were made to Snyman on social media on Tuesday as news of his death became known.
Dean of the St Cyprian’s Cathedral, The Very Revd Fr Reginald Leeuw, said on the church’s Facebook page, “it is with great sadness that we announce that Fr Roy Snyman TSSF, one time Dean of Kimberley and Rector of the Cathedral Parish, died peacefully after a long illness, in Port Elizabeth this morning.
“May his dear soul rest in peace and rise in glory. From the Dean and clergy, churchwardens, council and people of the Cathedral.”
Former Editor of the DFA, Tony Ball, described Father Roy as “witty, wise, and exceedingly holy”.
“Both gregarious and convivial, he matched his devotions to his Maker to his devotion to social needs and justice.”