Michael Berning’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

Intro South african bell ringer
From South Africa
Gender male

1 January 1941


1 January 2006
(aged 65 years)

John Michael Berning (1941 – 2006): librarian, anglican, bell ringer and author.

Personal life

Mike Berning was born in Johannesburg on 4 December 1941. He attended the King Edward VII School in Johannesburg. He attended Rhodes University in 1960, where he studied History, graduating in with an Honours degree in 1963. He continued his studies at the University of Cape Town in 1964. In 1968 he was awarded a Diploma in Librarianship from UCT. He died in Grahamstown on 7 December 2006, he was married to Ann.

Professional life

In the first part of 1965 Berning was employed in the South African Library in Cape Town, but in September of that year he was appointed Librarian of the Cory Library at Rhodes University. From 1978 until 1986 he acted as Deputy to the University Librarian until, in 1988, the post of Deputy University Librarian was created, to which he was a ppointed. Berning retired in 1999.

Bell ringing

In 1968 Dean Kenneth Oram sought volunteers to ring the Grahamstown Cathedral bells. Berning, who was very involved in the life of the cathedral, was one of the recruits. Berning took over as Tower Captain, through a very difficult period in the 1980s, held a band together and continued to teach recruits. He helped found the South African Guild of Church Bell Ringers in 1988. Berning was instrumental in petitioning the Parish Council for permission to rehang the bells in a new frame. He also helped obtain the support of the Mayor of Grahamstown and City Council for the rehanging project. Berning was one of the band who rang the bells for the first time in their new frame, on Christmas Eve, 1993.


  • Order of Simon of Cyrene in 2006.
  • Anon 2008.


  • John Michael Berning (1971). Southwell Settlers. The author. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  • John Michael Berning (1972). A Select Bibliography on the 1820 Settlers and Settlement: Compiled by J M Berning. 1820 Settlers National Monument Foundation and Rhodes University Publications Department. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  • Brian P. Gaybba; C. J. De Wet; Michael Smout; Terence Anthony Marsh; Andrew Robert Donaldson; Paul Maylam; George Carter; Roger Southall; Brian R. Gardner; Daryl Lee; William Thomas Futter; John Michael Berning (1992). Special Supplement: Rhodes the Debate Ahead. Rhodes University, Department of Philosophy. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  • J.M. Berning (1989). The Historical “Conversations” of Sir George Cory. Maskew Miller Longman. ISBN 978-0-636-01197-7. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  • John Michael Berning (1987). Grahamstown Training College Archives, Methodist Archives Collection, Supplement No. 6, and Smaller Collections. Cory Library for Historical Research, Rhodes University. ISBN 978-0-86810-151-4. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  • Quarterly Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa. Friends of the National Library of South Africa. 2006. p. 89. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  • Quarterly Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa. Friends of the National Library of South Africa. 2006. p. 87. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 

Notes and references

  • Lewis, C. A. (2007). “John Michael Berning (14.12.1941- 17.12.2006) : obituary”. The Ringing World (4995): 72. 
  • Anon (2008). “Ordination, Cathedral of Ss Michael & George, Grahamstown, 16 December 2008”. Diocese of Grahamstown. Retrieved 2013-09-29.