In Loving Memory of Kirstie Rendall-Mkosi (PhD)

Kirstie Rendall-Mkosi

Senior Lecturer, School of Health Systems & Public Health University of Pretoria

International Blue Cross Network committee member 2008-2012

Kirstie Rendall-Mkosi, who died on Saturday 24th October 2015 at the age of 54, will be greatly missed by people involved with Blue Cross work in over 40 countries around the world.

Kirstie brought a great evidence-based and researched view to the work of the International Blue Cross. With her good listening and facilitation skills, she enabled the board to take big steps to deepen their understanding of global issues of public health. Kirstie showed us the importance of seeing alcohol as a public health issue. Not just the abusive use of alcohol but the role alcohol itself plays in public health. Kirstie believed in community action and involving all citizens to take a role on tackling alcohol harm especially in Africa. Her work was aimed at sowing the seeds of change. It was evident that through her tireless efforts she wanted to leave the world a better place. She had passion and enthusiasm to her field of work and she had the ability to make other people welcome to join her in this work. She enabled and inspired other people to feel passionately about these causes too.

Her work within IFBC board was outstanding and will long be remembered. As a result of her contributions, IFBC has created good networks with African Universities and been able to network with leading people in the field of alcohol. She contributed by sharing her research and produced a handbook: “Communities Taking Action- Reducing Alcohol Harm” in 2013 for the use of Blue Cross organizations worldwide. She provided various training sessions to Blue Cross organizations and was coaching and supporting them to take steps forward to enable real change to take place.

Kirstie was a very kind and gentle person with a great sense of humor. She had the ability to make anyone feel welcome in her presence whether you were a president or a peasant. Her holistic view of life and work meant that she could translate research or policies in a practical way for people doing groundwork to utilise – always with the view of improving their livelihoods.

This was evident in one of her dreams, which was to build cottages in a rural community plagued by Fetal Alcohol syndrome where expecting mothers can stay for their pregnancy term and be taken care of. Kirstie wanted to truly mobilize and implement evidence based practices and her pioneering spirit was truly inspirational to us all in Blue Cross.

Tania Diederiks, who worked as part of International Blue Cross team writes: “I got to know Kirstie through IFBC, but because of her endearing nature we soon became friends beyond IFBC. I shared her journey with her from diagnoses till the end. Through it all what stood out for me and what I will take with me into my own life is her positive and brave outlook on what life may bring and her tenacity to accept what she cannot change and change and take charge of what she can and then always caring about others.”

The President of IFBC, Albert Moukolo writes: For me, as many others friends:

"I was shocked and saddened to hear of Kirstie's death. I wish to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences personally to her family on this dark day. Kirstie was a very thoughtful and wonderful person. I will never forget those trips we had in Pretoria. I will always remember Kirstie as an honest and cheerful woman who loved to work for addicted people. Our Blue Cross movement is privileged to have known her."

By sharing these memories we want to express our heartfelt sympathy to those survived by her: husband Sicelo and sons Sello and Sihle , mother Aileen and brothers Alastair and Duncan. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deut. 33:27

Her ‘family’ at Blue Cross will miss her dearly!

On behalf of the International Blue Cross
Anne Babb, General Secretary