Rodney Mazinter

Writer, Poet and Author

28 July 1938 - 17 April 2022 

Rodney Mazinter was a Cape Town-based writer, poet and author.

He held numerous leadership positions within a wide range of educational, sporting, secular and Jewish communal bodies in Cape Town. 

His first novel, By A Mighty Hand, published in March 2016, was favourably reviewed on Amazon and in the press in South Africa, and Australia.

His second book in the series, Toward Redemption, was published in January 2022.

Rodney passed away on 17 April 2022 and is deeply missed by his family and friends all over the world.

Eulogy to my father

I am truly lucky...

By Luisa Mazinter

My name is Luisa and I am Rodney’s daughter. And I am truly lucky to have grown up with my dad.

He was a master storyteller

My very earliest memories of my dad are of us taking long, rambling walks together, me and Jono, hanging on his every word as he spun a series of magical stories for us - my favourite being about Van Hunks and the Devil engaged in an epic pipe smoking battle, and creating the cloud coming up over Devil's Peak.

He always had a twinkle in his eye and a quick wit

He loved coming up with new stories or jokes. Some were truly hilarious, some… only he found funny. But he always giggled when he came up with another one and we always laughed with him and also at his delight in telling them. And there were so many that he told. He entertained and brought joy and laughter to all of us, his family and friends, all his life.

He was a consummate sportsman and a great sport
  • He played Rugby for Hamilton’s first team during the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.

  • He represented Western Province Water Polo, as a goal keeper. And after he retired from playing he still stayed very involved in the sport.

  • He was vice president of the Western Province Swimming Association and served on their Executive for 12 years.

  • He was chairman of the South African Water Polo Board for 9 years.

  • He was an International Water Polo Referee and Executive member of the SA Water Polo Referees Association.

  • He was awarded his Springbok colours and managed the Springbok water polo team on their tour to England in 1985.

  • He was the SA Swimming Union delegate to 2 Olympics Games (Munich and Los Angeles); and

  • He was awarded the South African Amateur Swimming Union Meritorious Service Award.

I still have such a clear image of us all going to watch him play at the Newlands Swimming Baths. I can still see him rising up to his waist out of the water, his powerful legs treading, his arms coming up and a determined grimace on his face, making sure he’d defend his goals from any incoming shots.

And just a month ago he was absolutely delighted to be invited as a special guest to an awards ceremony for a new generation of players, where he regaled these youngsters and some of his old polo buddies with stories about the old days. He handed out their awards – including the much coveted Mazinter Cup, which was named after him so many years ago.

He dedicated much of his life to helping others

Dad was a Rotarian through and through. He was a proud member of the Sea Point Rotary Club for 45 years, served as a Director in 4 avenues of Service and was elected President of the club three times. He was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1985, to which 3 Rubies were added over the years.

He held many positions at District Level, served on and Chaired numerous committees and gave many, many speeches over the years. He was appointed District Governor in 1996/97. There is so much that he did for Rotary over the years – I can’t even begin to list it all – but his true passion projects were in child and adult literacy, a variety of other education programmes and in Polio eradication.

He made so many great friends through Rotary over the years, I want to make particular mention of our darling Graham Gordon, who was always a rock and support for my dad and whom he loved very much.

Dad was so determined throughout his life to help others less fortunate than himself and Rotary gave him the camaraderie and community to do so. He loved finding ways to help others all his life and truly embodied the Rotary motto, Service Above Self.

He was a deep thinker, a philosopher poet

Not only did he tell stories, he wrote them too. He thought deeply about issues and had a true gift for crafting language that paints vivid pictures, and for writing poetry that inspires and stirs the imagination.

One of his greatest achievements were his two beautifully written novels: By a Mighty Hand and Toward Redemption, rich, compelling, historical fiction. Telling a story spanning generations, grounded in the history of the Jews in Europe from the late 19th Century through World War II, up until the founding of the State of Israel.

They are REALLY great reads. I am so very proud that he wrote them and so sad that the third one, which he’d already started to craft in his mind, is not to be.

He was a passionate supporter of Israel

He read widely and researched constantly. He felt compelled to right the wrongs, to point out the untruths and to give a more balanced view of what is happening in that country - and so he wrote impassioned letters to editors and published articles. He would never sit back and allow things to slide, he made sure Israel’s true story was told.

Dad was Vice Chair of the SA Zionist Federation Cape Council, and was a member of their Media Committee for many years. He would always find the time to write one more letter when called upon to do so.

He was involved with many Civic and Community Affairs

For as long as I can remember, my dad was an activist for Education. He was Chairman of the Open Schools Association since its inception in 1988 and sat on many governmental and non-governmental Boards and Advisory Committees, Educational Foundations and Parents Associations.

He was a caring and protective brother

He really loved his sisters Valerie and Daphne so very much and was always there to support them, to protect them, to help them and to enjoy the precious time they spent together over the years.

He was a wonderful, loving and supportive husband

He loved my mom so much and he was a true romantic. And he was also her greatest fan. He truly respected, supported and encouraged her throughout her professional dancing, teaching and examining career.

He beamed with pride whenever he watched her dance, gave her the time and space she needed to live her dreams and even got carried away when doing the palmas (clapping along) in the wings along with the company on stage - notably adding two extra beats to the Alegrias compass in his enthusiasm.

He was the very best of fathers

Jonathan and I were so blessed to always feel deeply loved, truly listened to, supported in any choices we made and gently guided along our life paths.

He was a gentle, kind, loving man.

Generous to a fault.

An ethical and honest man.

A man of great integrity.

A man who nurtured and inspired the very best of who I am.

A man I love and will always love so very much.

I am truly lucky and blessed to have grown up with my dad.