Obituary: Remembering our friend and colleague, Professor Bernard Janse van Rensburg (1960-2020)


Professor Bernard Janse van Rensburg (1960-2020)

It was with shock and sadness that the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) received the tragic news of the sudden passing of Professor Bernard Janse van Rensburg on 23 April 2020. We express our sincere condolences to his family and to the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP).


We all recall Bernard - and his work in South Africa and with the international community - with great affection and admiration. He worked closely with Prof Dinesh Bhugra and others from WPA and SASOP to prepare the 2016 WPA International Congress of Psychiatry in Cape Town - a meeting that was pivotal in showcasing South African psychiatry to the world. Bernard played a lead role in its preparation and nothing was ever too much trouble for him; his qualities of dedication, patience, compassion and academic excellence shone through.


Bernard was a leader, a mentor, an academic, a dear friend to many, and a kind and gentle person who was deeply passionate about psychiatry. We mourn his loss to our profession, our community and to all he touched.


Prof Helen Herrman AO, WPA President, Australia

Prof Afzal Javed, WPA President-Elect, UK

Prof Roy Abraham Kallivayalil, WPA Secretary General, India

Prof Solly Rataemane, Past WPA Board Member, South Africa


Please find below a moving tribute to Professor Janse van Rensburg from SASOP President Prof Bonga Chiliza and President-Elect Dr Sebolelo Seape.



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