The Baroness and Edwin van Wjik Images via Facebook and IMBD

The Baroness: Theatre extraordinaire Edwin van Wijk has passed away

Some might remember The Baroness’s colourful personality from SABC3’s ‘Below The Belt’. Others might know her from her theatre escapades.


The Baroness and Edwin van Wjik Images via Facebook and IMBD

South African theatre actor Edwin van Wijk, popularly known as the Baroness Corol van Reefenhausen, passed away at the age of 74 in Amsterdam. The cause of death is still unknown.


Born in Grahamstown, van Wijk went on to study acting and performance at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK. The school’s website describes it as one of the most successful and well respected drama schools in the UK.

He appeared in multiple theatre productions both in South Africa and the UK and was the mind behind an advice column on MambaOnline. 

Van Wijk’s flamboyant and dazzling character, Baroness Corol von Reefenhausen, took the South African cabaret scene by storm before relocating abroad.

According to the Baroness herself, she was born in Berlin, grew up in Rio de Janeiro. She shocked her family by taking a career in acting, singing and dancing. After marrying a baron, she married a wealthy Italian man who later died.

The Baroness hosted her one-woman show Ladies and Gentleman…The Baroness in Cape Town and performed at the Sun City Superbowl. 


Many South Africans will remember the baroness on her SABC3 show Below The Belt that looked at interesting and risqué topics. The Baroness tackled topics of nudity, adult tourism and gay nightlife in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

Lars Schwinges who directed Below the Belt, expressed his deep sadness about van Wijk’s passing. 

“His passion was infectious and working on the series was such a special time. I was very happy to visit Edwin in November 2019 at his home in Amsterdam and then again in August 2020 when, due to Covid concerns, we decided to chat, with me below his upper floor window.” 

Lars Shwinges


A close friend and neighbour of the Van Wijks, Mirjam Coelho, said he was giving unscripted performances to residents in his last days.

“The people and the staff loved having him around. He was so lively, energetic and full of stories.” 

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