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John Kane-Berman

(Transvaal & Pembroke 1969) (3 March 1946 - 27 July 2022)

John Kane-Berman, who was born on the eve of apartheid and devoted his life to vigorously opposing the race nationalism of apartheid’s ideologues and, at their defeat, the illiberal impulses of their successors, has died aged 76.

His conviction in the power of ideas was central to his long association with the South African Institute of Race Relations. It remains a profound and lasting influence on the liberal cause, and the continuing efforts to achieve a fairer, prospering South Africa.

Said John Endres, CEO of the South African Institute of Race Relations: “John Kane-Berman leaves a profound legacy. As CEO of the Institute from 1983 until 2014, he was a fearless proponent of liberalism before, during and after South Africa’s democratic transition. He sharpened the SAIRR’s focus, put it on a sound financial footing and set it on the path that turned it into the potent force that it is today.

“His brave and unstinting commitment to the liberal cause inspired legions of South African liberals, myself included. John Kane-Berman was known for his eloquent presentation, exceptional memory, thorough command of his subject matter and exemplary discipline. He was demanding, setting the highest standards for himself and others, because he realised the importance of the project he was engaged in: to insist that nothing less than true non-racialism and personal freedom would allow the dignity and prosperity of all South Africans to flourish.”

Read a full obituary for John Kane-Berman.