Bertie du Plessis

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[learn_more caption=”RIP Bertie – 6 August 1949 – 17 December 2015″] If I’d known that the last time I’d see you was last December when you visited me at Klein Zevenwacht, I would have told you what you meant to me.

I’m so sorry I can’t tell you to your face. When I first met you at the PSASA I had to pluck up my courage just to be able to speak to you.

It wasn’t just your towering reputation that intimidated me –academic, philosopher, theologian, artist, intellectual, author – but the intensity of your gaze which gave me no doubt about the agility of your mind. I knew that you don’t suffer fools gladly. And, I was nervous that you’d think me a fool. For some reason I wanted you to like me.

I plucked up the courage and approached you and as they say, the rest is history. I so enjoyed the regular coffees and lunches we had in Pretoria. I was sorry when you up and left two-and-a-half years ago to go to Somerset West to become Chief Learning Officer at Naspers. I missed our time together.

But, I was happy for you because you went on a journey of discovery that made your soul sing. Listen, it wasn’t always easy for me to hang out with you. Initially, our get-togethers were stressful affairs for me.

I always felt that I had to do mental calisthenics before meeting you lest you think me dim-witted. But, to your everlasting credit you took pity on me and didn’t challenge me nearly as hard as you could have, leaving me with my ego intact. Bertie, I cannot express in mere words how much I valued our times together.

Your towering intellect made me aware of my own woefully frail mind. Because of the high standards you set yourself in every endeavour, you made me want to be a better man.

I’ll be forever grateful that you got me to read Martin Buber again. And, of course for patiently guiding me over the past five years to the works that have shaped me into the man I’ve become today. My life is richer because of you. I miss you, Bertie.

Your friend,


Bertie du Plessis - Change AgentBertie Du Plessis’s public speaking career spans four decades. In the past two years he presented across five continents and nine countries over to specialist audiences on topics ranging from leadership development, business strategy, decision making, psychology in negotiation and advertising to UX design.

He is an authority on the behavioral economics of Daniel Kahneman and apply insights from behavioural economics to different management practices.

Bertie won his first national public speaking competition at age 18. At university he twice won national public speaking competitions and chaired the century-old Debating Society at the University of Stellenbosch.

In 2005, at the international conference on Innovation and CI his presentation on the science of change was voted top presentation. In 2008 the Strelizia Branch of Toastmasters Southern Africa honoured him with an award for life time contribution to public communication in South Africa. He adjudicated numerous local and national public speaking competitions over more than four decades.

Bertie Du Plessis has been on contract with Naspers since July 2013 as Chief Learning Officer to establish the Naspers Academy. The mandate from iconic CEO Koos Bekker was razor sharp: “You are a poster boy for the ability to adapt – see to it that our people remain adaptive.”

Du Plessis had a stellar academic career that established his multidisciplinary approach to business analysis. Despite having received first prize in the National Science Olympiad in his final year at school, Bertie decided to study literature and theology at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Tübingen. He founded the MindPilot (Pty) Ltd® consultancy in 1995.

His client list includes various JSE listed companies. He has lectured in six different disciplines at various universities and tertiary institutions in South Africa.

Over the years he has contributed to various ground breaking publications on the old political order in South Africa, on crime, education and creativity. He is an accomplished artist who exhibited in South Africa’s premier gallery, the Goodman. His blog on was voted in the top ten business category in South Africa for 2010.



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