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In memoriam: Ben Rabinowitz 

ben1Inyathelo and its associates remember, with affection and gratitude, Cape Town-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, the late Ben Rabinowitz.

Mr Rabinowitz and his late wife Shirley supported numerous organisations, projects and causes for over 50 years, spanning  education, health, justice, the environment, sport and music.

The Rabinowitz couple described themselves as neither rich nor poor, but having  enough to meet their needs, and were known to seldom turn anyone away when they were approached for assistance.

The co-founders of Inyathelo, for example, first worked from a back room of the Rabinowitz home when setting up the organisation, and the couple’s support not only encouraged them, but also many others, to follow their calling and make a difference in the lives of others.

Mr Rabinowitz  obtained a B.A. (with distinction) from UCT, was awarded a SACS Rhodes Scholarship and went up to Oxford, receiving his M.A. Law. 

He was a board member of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra from its inception and  supported a campaign to save Oudekraal and Princess Vlei from property development. He led the Sea Front for All campaign to save the Sea Point beachfront for the community. He was also a champion of the Cape Town Press Club and supported the Peninsula Feeding Scheme and the African School Feeding Scheme for decades.

 Inyathelo presented the couple with the 2009 Inyathelo Award for Lifetime Philanthropy in recognition of their contributions.

ben1“Although many South Africans are giving to charitable causes, I don’t think that we’re giving enough,” said Mr Rabinowitz, on accepting the award. “Everyone can give, no matter how small or how big the donation, or how rich or poor you are.”

Not all giving has to be monetary, he said. “Giving food, clothes or blankets to a person living on the street, or supporting events, are all ways in which to help. One can even take a stand against something that can affect your community, like environmental issues.”

Mr Rabinowitz  also received the Mayor’s Medal for Philanthropy, a Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club of Sea Point, the Spectemur Agendo Award from SACS , and  the UCT President of Convocation medal. He was on the board of the Cape Town Concert Series, Croxton, LEAP Science & Maths School, Musiquelaine SA and the Cape Jewish Seniors Association and was a trustee of the Ben and Shirley Rabinowitz Cricket Trust.

“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for people to give,” said Mr Rabinowitz. “Try to set an example for your children. Your actions can spur others on to do more.”

Sources: and Inyathelo Lifetime Philanthropy Award media release.


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