The Cape Town Press Club mourns the passing of Benjamin Philip Rabinowitz
The Cape Town Press Club’s long-term benefactor, Bennie Rabinowitz died on Tuesday, May 9, at the age of 89. He continued to support the club to the end despite being unable to attend Press Club events for several years due to illness.
The Cape Town Press Club was one of dozens of Cape Town, South African and international institutions and individuals who benefited from Bennie’s support, though the public never knew the extent of his generosity.
Born in Bellville in 1933, Bennie Rabinowitz boarded at SACS where he excelled at athletics, rugby and cricket, became a Victoria Scholar and earned a 1st Class Matric at 16. After a BA Law degree at UCT he was awarded the SACS Rhodes Scholarship for 1952 and spent three years at Oxford, obtaining an M.A. at Brasenose College in 1955.
In a roller coaster career in Cape Town, his legal practice flourished and he branched out into property development, textiles and finance, proving successful enough to support a growing list of civic and philanthropic activities.
In the apartheid era he quietly supported numerous anti-apartheid political and media initiatives of differing ideologies, including providing offices to Colin Eglin as leader of the Progressive Party as well as other further left including the ANC and the UDF.
In the dark days of apartheid he was an important funder of the anti-apartheid Weekly Mail, which grew from the ashes when the Rand Daily Mail was closed. “Best investment I ever made,” he said, “except for the balance sheet!”
Ben Rabinowitz supported the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, which he chaired from 2009-2017, SACS school, numerous individual scholarships and initiatives to protect Cape Town’s natural beauty.
Bennie was a truly great South African, mostly by stealth.
Bennie is deeply mourned by the committee and members of the Cape Town Press Club and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and friends.