Suitable honour proposed for late Theodore Yach, CBD rejuvenator, champion swimmer

Whatever its other faults, social media certainly has the ability to reconnect us. I was amazed at the number of old friends and acquaintances who popped on to the various channels to wish me well on a milestone this week. A wonderful reminder that, as Ubuntu teaches, there is a universal bond which connects all of humanity.

In this context it was sad to read of Wednesday’s passing of a Biznews community member who sometimes brightened my day with notes of encouragement. Theodore Yach, a humble icon in his native Cape Town, died after being admitted to hospital with asthmatic symptoms. He was just 60 years old.

Those in the business world knew Theodore as the founder of the Cape Town Partnership, the driving force behind a R25bn rejuvenation of the city’s CBD. His day job was Cape divisional head at Zenprop, but he was more widely known as an open water swimmer, having swum the 7.5km between Cape Town and Robben Island a record 108 times.

Yesterday, Cape Premier Helen Zille issued a statement supporting an earlier call from M&C Saatchi CEO Mike Abel to formally honour Yach. They want to rename the annual Robben Island to Cape Town race, one of the world’s toughest open water events, “The Theodore Yach Challenge”. Given his contributions to the city – and his sport – that seems entirely appropriate.


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