The late professor will be remembered by his colleagues as a teacher, supervisor, mentor and leader in the field of psychiatry in South Africa.

Wits University’s associate professor and clinical head of unit at Helen Joseph Hospital, and psychiatrist Bernard Janse Van Rensburg (60) has died.

Professor Janse Van Rensburg is remembered by his colleagues as an advocate for human rights and mental health. Photo: Provided

According to a statement issued by the Gauteng Health Department, Janse Van Rensburg died unexpectedly on Thursday April 23.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear Prof Janse Van Rensburg.  A consultant psychiatrist who was a teacher, supervisor, mentor and leader in the department of Psychiatry at Wits,” said Professor Ugash Subramaney, academic HOD of the department of psychiatry.

Associate Professor Daynia Ballot, head of the school of clinical medicine, told Wits Vuvuzela, “Prof Van Rensburg was a humble, gentleman who was always willing to help. He was meticulous in organising things and had the ability to see potential in a person or situation.”

Ballot describes Janse Van Rensburg as “an advocate for human rights and mental health,” adding that the professor should be remembered for his kind manner and support for those afflicted with mental illness.

Long standing colleague of Janse Van Rensburg, Professor Christopher Szabo, describes the professor as a tireless worker.

“Prof Janse Van Rensburg was deeply committed to the discipline of psychiatry and passionate about developing the discipline. With his passing, one cannot overstate the loss to the department, to the faculty and to psychiatry as a discipline,” said Szabo.

Subramaney told Wits Vuvuzela that Janse Van Rensburg’s contribution to South African psychiatry has been “all encompassing”.

Outside of his contribution to the university and Gauteng health, Janse Van Rensburg was also involved with the World Psychiatric Association, he was the former President of the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) and also served as a member of the South African Medical Association (SAMA).

In a statement released by  SAMA, prof Janse Van Rensburg, is remembered as a strong-willed individual.

“His commitment to the medical field was truly exemplary and manifested in his work and research. A giant has indeed fallen.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits University associate professor Bernard Janse Van Rensuburg. Photo: Provided