In Loving Memory of Barney van Heerden

In Loving Memory of Barney van Heerden

Written by Mark Swilling on 2011-09-21 06:57:11

Sometimes a student just walks into the heart of the Institute. That was Barney…incredible warmth, joy and deep kindness emanated from this incredible soul. He joined us in 2007, was an astute participant in his modules, doing particularly well in Renewable Energy and (unsurprisingly) Leadership and Environmental Ethics. He found his way into all of us – comments and questions beyond the obvious, tackling his explorations with compassion, curiosity and amazing creativity. We shall miss him so, perhaps especially his ability to make us laugh. Thank you, Barney, for sharing this part of your life with us – go well, with love from us all at the Institute.

Barney's MPhil thesis topic was "An Exploration of the South African Financial Sector’s Response to Sustainable Development".

Candice Kelly writes: I studied with Barney during my BPhil in 2007. He was an incredibly open person and we had some very deep conversations very quickly that meant a lot to me. I loved his wry sense of humour and his deep concern and care for the world around him. He was openly gay and I learnt a lot about myself and my own prejudices from speaking to him, especially about being comfortable with who you are and not giving a hoot what other people think. I looked forward to our early morning and tea time chats on the stoep outside the Institute.I’m still deeply shocked about the horrible way in which he died. Barney – I hope that you’re looking down on the outpouring of grief that is happening right now and know just how much you positively impacted the people whose lives you touched, however briefly. I am glad that you are in a place free of hatred, free of prejudice, free of violence and filled only with love. I’m sure you feel much more at home there.