Hat tip for Bekker

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUISMAN bi­enne.huisman@city­press.co.za

For­mer Naspers CEO Koos Bekker was the re­luc­tant re­cip­i­ent of an elab­o­rate in­dus­try hat tip in Cape Town on Fri­day. De­scribed by Forbes Mag­a­zine as a “South African me­dia ty­coon and self-made bil­lion­aire”, Bekker (61) shuns the lime­light – hence his in­fa­mous love of blend-in beige at­tire.

But at the Artscape the­atre on Fri­day, he was the toast of the town – or the global me­dia vil­lage – as Naspers nonex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ton Vosloo handed him the cov­eted Phil We­ber Award, the com­pany’s high­est ac­co­lade.

The func­tion fol­lowed the me­dia con­glom­er­ate’s 100th an­nual gen­eral meet­ing.

“It gives me goose bumps to hand this award to Koos, who I had to drag here kick­ing and scream­ing,” said Vosloo.

Mean­while, col­leagues and fam­ily di­vulged some lesser-known de­tails about him, in­clud­ing that Bekker is prone to sit­ting on his spec­ta­cles – he has “hun­dreds” of pairs – that he has a pen­chant for shim­mery high heels – on women – and loves mu­si­cals.

Bekker cited a re­cent Times of Lon­don ar­ti­cle that aimed to re­duce hap­pi­ness to its prin­ci­pal con­stituents.

“It said there are two as­pects to hap­pi­ness: pur­pose and plea­sure,” he said, thank­ing his fam­ily and col­leagues for giv­ing him both.

“I trained as a lawyer, but when I went to court I hated ev­ery­thing, from the manila fold­ers to the blood smears,” he said. So he grav­i­tated to­wards me­dia, which he loved.

Bekker wore a pump­kin-hued tie – a good match for the plums and mealies stacked on his ta­ble; a nod to his habit of re­ward­ing staff with pun­nets of fruit and veg­eta­bles from his farms. At his side was his wife, Karen Roos; ra­dio pre­sen­ter daugh­ter Cato; dig­i­tal en­tre­pre­neur son Niel; and Doeda Mathidza, who has worked at the fam­ily’s Gar­dens home for the past 30 years.

Mathidza’s Joburg-based chil­dren – Wil­son, Sundu and Glo­ria – flew to Cape Town for the bash.

Glo­ria, who also works in the me­dia,


Bekker, flanked by his wife, Karen Roos, re­ceives the cov­eted Phil We­ber Award from Naspers chair­man Ton Vosloo

Cato Bekker, Doeda Mathidza and Doreen Mor­ris

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