This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

Memo to friends of Roelof Botha, and startup founders looking for funding from the Sequoia Capital venture capitalist: no condolences, please, on the recent death of P.W. Botha, the last hardline leader of white South Africa.

Yes, one might indeed want to suck up to Roelof (just pronounce it Rolf; he doesn't mind). He's Sand Hill Road's up-and-comer, since the sale of Youtube, the online video sharing service, to Google. And Roelof is indeed the grandson of an apartheid-era South African politician.

But his grandfather was Roelof "Pik" Botha, the good Botha, a relatively liberal foreign minister of the time, who is still alive and well; he is unrelated to P.W., who was a stubborn bigot. Since Botha's death, Roelof has been plagued by sympathetic but ill-informed emails. This, in the annals of clunky networking, ranks alongside a note to Andy Bechtolsheim, Silicon Valley's best-known German immigrant, on Hitler's birthday.