Rage, rage against the dying of the light
This painting by Bertie du Plessis
inspired Rika Cilliers to the poem Herkenning
Bertie du Plessis
1949 - 2015
Artist, Designer and Author of books
Bertie du Plessis was was born on 6 August 1949 in Middelburg (Eastern Cape).
He attended school in Pietersburg where he matriculated with six distinctions and in the same year won the 3rd National Science Olympiad (1967). He studied literature and theology at the Universities of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Tübingen (Germany).
At Stellenbosch he served as president of the Day Students Organisation, Arts Editor of the student newspaper, Die Matie, President of the University Debating Society and member of the Student Representatives' Council. He twice won national debating competitions during his student years. He completed an M.A. in Afrikaans and Dutch poetry cum laude (1973), part-time while completing his studies for the degree Bachelor of Theology. He served in the Department of Afrikaans-Dutch at Stellenbosch as a part-time lecturer for some four years during the early and mid 1970s. Du Plessis completed a doctorate in theology on the communication of New Testament parables that received international acclaim and published numerous scientific and popular articles in the field of New Testament studies.
He served for a decade in the ministry of the Dutch Reformed Church in Pretoria.
Later he run his own strategic communications consultancy, MindPilot (Pty) Ltd (founded in 1995) and coached and mentored business owners.
Du Plessis reviewed books for all South Africa's major Afrikaans publications in at least four different disciplines. He was also for some years the senior movie critic for the Afrikaans newspaper Beeld as well as reviewing fine art for the newspaper. He occasionally commented on exceptional media events for Rapport newspaper. Since July 2013 Bertie Du Plessis was on contract with Naspers as Chief Learning Officer to establish the Naspers Academy.
Until the end he enjoyed blogging on South Africa's largest business and financial portal, fin24.com and wrote short, practical pocket books on issues encountered in his consulting practice. Bertie's blogs had reached the top 10 business blogs of the year in South Africa in 2010. It was regularly most read and most commented on South Africa's largest financial and business portal, fin24.com.
Du Plessis was also an artist of distinction with four solo exhibitions to his credit, amongst them at South Africa's premier gallery, the Goodman. His work is represented in public and private collections in South Africa, the USA, Canada and the UK. He was an early adopter of Apple's iPAD and created a series of portraits, painting free hand directly with the finger in the Brushes App. These may be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreambrush. His work as an artist spans all the major technological epochs of: charcoal, brush painting, airbrushing, the first wave of digital art and the new wave digital art on tablet computing, "iPAD painting".
Recognition: Bertie du Plessis is represented in the volume Granaat (1993), a selection of Afrikaans essayists covering the 1980s and early nineties. His blog Read This! (www.bertieblogs.com) voted top ten business blog in South Africa in 2010.
Hobbies: Cycling, completed four Cape Argus Tours
Rembrandt's Eyes by Simon Schama'
The poetry of D J Opperman, Breyten Breitenbach and Pablo Neruda
Against the Gods, the story of risk by Peter Bernstein
Isaiah Berlin on Tolstoy
Socrates' Apology by Plato
'Most people would sooner die than think, and in fact they do!' - Bertrand Russell
Bertie died on 17 December 2015 after a short illness.
See also his e-books at Amazon.com
Available at Amazon.com:
How to write your business card on steroids
Hard-Core Strategy: The Agenda,17 questions that cut to the bone
Tafelberg Short: Your Small Business Nightmare
Don't Lose Your Pension! 8 Questions you absolutely must ask your financial advisors>
Lightness of Being
* * *
The following translation (by Bertie du Plessis) is an extract of a poem, "Herkenning," by Rika Cilliers in her fourth and last volume of poetry, Spirakel (Spiracle), pp 57- 58, and refers to the painting, titled "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" by Bertie du Plessis, 1990 airbrush acrylic on canvas 80 cm by 120 cm. In the possession of Dr & Mrs BP Botha
'No Polaroid can equal your airbrush
in consummate shimmering...
the other flowers rage colour rich
boundary and circumference;
meticulously blown up, but therefore
unrealistic: so smoothly executed
they shrill against textures of decay -
against so much mortal "flower-hood"
'And you, whom I recognise for a flower,
in this accidental encounter, making small talk,
inspire me to reciprocate, to paint
what is as yet outside the frame
but even so already encapsulated:
'first the iris flaps its wings, then withers,
thin veins lose their tensile strength
falter, unable to bear the flower's weight,
leaf after leaf curls back unto themselves
and dries into a cheroot
then, more tender than the very first bud,
praying mantis, with breath bated in a spiracle
morphs into a twig
settling on my palm.'
www.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer