John Gafney


If you were to meet my father, John Gafney, your first impression of him would be – what a friendly man. He would go out of his way to make you feel comfortable and to get to know you.

One of his co-workers described him ‘as an extraordinary leader who guided NBS to great success when he was at the helm.’ He was a quietly diplomatic man with infinite wisdom. He was known for his sense of integrity, honesty and loyalty and he garnered much respect from those who knew him. He preferred giving to receiving and was always there to help those in need. Most of his giving was done anonymously. He had humble beginnings, being born and raised in Tabankulu in the Transkei and this sense of humility remained with him always. He found it almost embarrassing when anyone would talk of his success or achievements. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was someone who said, ‘life is too short for an afternoon nap’. He grasped life with both hands and squeezed everything he could into his living years, working to pay for his studies, making his family his main priority, loving animals, playing the piano and accordion, golfing, fishing, travelling and entertaining.

He was the CEO of NBS, served on the boards of Kearsney College, Durban Girls’ College, University of Natal, RMB Holdings, Hollandia, Lireas, First National Bank, First Rand Bank and others.

We, as a family, are extremely proud of this man, who was part of the Kearsney family.