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DEATH OF MIKE LIPSCHITZ (article first published : 2001-07-22)

Mike Lipschitz, former Mayor of Durban and a major force in the support of the needy, the under-privileged and destitute of the city, was murdered on Friday night at his home on the Berea. Two men have been taken in for questioning. No further details are available at present.

Apart from his immense civic contribution to the city of Durban, Mike Lipschitz’s contribution to the arts world in Durban is considerable. He served on the Board of the Playhouse Company until a couple of years ago and was a member of the Board of the KZN Philharmonic.

He was of considerable assistance to Durban Arts Association when he provided sponsorship for a questionnaire to be printed and circulated to establish the readership and viability of the D’ARTS magazine.

While he didn’t sit on any governing body in the visual arts field, Mike Lipschitz was a generous supporter of this arts discipline. “Whenever we held any fundraising art auctions, the first person we phoned was Mike,” says NSA craft convenor Gloria Hoff. “We knew that Mike would come and he would bid and he would pay. Not because he wanted the work, it was just because he was generous.

“He could be relied on to get things going. As long as you could show that your cause was honourable, he would support it. I never knew him to refuse any plea for help. You could always count on him to buy tickets for an event, or a full table if it was a function. He just gave and gave and gave …”

Fashion designer Sandy Day remembers him as a generous, loving and caring person who was never too busy to help the poor, the desolate and the under-privileged.

“Over the past 15 years he assisted with all my charity work – Reach for a Dream, Wylie House, Kidney Foundation, Hospice, Child Welfare, Cancer Association and more - once giving up a whole day to entertain a little terminally-ill girl. During his busy Mayoral term of office he would even cancel business appointments to assist with transporting children to and from hospital – loan his work vehicles out at no cost to homes and orphanages.

He always attended fundraising functions at Wylie House and willingly gave generously. He wasted no opportunity to make the world a better place. A Rotarian of considerable note whose list of good deeds are far too many to note. A spontaneous gentle giant of a man that the world he made beautiful will miss so much.”




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