Dr Bertram (Bertie) Lubner (OMS)
“When dealing with the lives of the community, particularly children, we have a most onerous responsibility because we dare not let them down.” Bertie Lubner
within the private sector to play a meaningful role in the transformation and reconciliation of this nation. He believed that if reconciliation, was really to work, this affluent sector of society would “have to change its priorities radically”. Afrika Tikkun was formed to spearhead meaningful transformation. “Tikkun” is a Hebrew word meaning a setting to rights, transformation. At its heart Afrika Tikkun would empower individuals who had been disempowered to become skilled, educated, and productive – to be masters of their own fate.
Today that work continues at the helm of one of Bertie’s sons, Marc Lubner, CEO of Afrika Tikkun. Bertie Lubner epitomised genuine care. He was a pathfinder for peace and reconciliation for this nation. With his characteristic integrity he wanted to ensure that peace meant something substantial.
In Lubner’s words, “Afrika Tikkun was the Jewish community’s’ contribution towards the upliftment of previously disadvantaged communities’ post 1994. We wanted to do this because we were opponents of apartheid. The Rabbi spoke out, his wife demonstrated and I did too, for a very simple reason, any policy that discriminates one person against another is an unacceptable policy”.
As Marc reflected, Bertie’s “love for children, all children, saw his personal engagement in dozens and dozens of projects across the globe and always with a sense of realism and a responsibility for how a meaningful difference could be made. He always looked after those whose situations prevented them from taking care of their situation and always with a sense of fairness.”
Bertie was adamant from the beginning that Afrika Tikkun be run by people who are driven by passion, as a business: “When you deal with people’s lives, you have a responsibility for them and when you’re dealing with other peoples’ money, you’ve also got a responsibility or else our reputation would be at stake”.
In true humanitarian spirit, Lubner put the interest of the community needs first. Up to his final days upon this earth, the thoughts of his heart and his commitment remained touchingly with the beneficiaries of Afrika Tikkun.
Formerly, Joint Chair and Chief Executive of Plate Glass and Shatterprufe Industries; Chairman of the Lubner Group of Companies; and Director of PGSI International; PG Glass, South Africa. He was also Vice-Chair of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; and Vice-President of the Institute of Directors, South Africa.
Formerly a Member of the Dean’s Council Harvard Kennedy School, Boston; and member of the World Economic Forum Task Force.
He was Chairman and Founder of Afrika Tikkun, Smile Organization and the Field Band Foundation; and a recipient of numerous awards, including the President’s Order of Meritorious Service.
“Look out for next week’s reflection on the life and contribution of Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris of blessed memory.”.