Ben van Rensburg: 8 May 1931 - 20 December 2014

Oom Ben - jy sal gemis word!

It is with sadness that we learnt of the passing of long-time Guild member and stalwart motoring editor, Ben van Rensburg, over the weekend. He was 83 years old.

Ben, or “Oom Ben”, as he was affectionately known, passed away in the Vergelegen Clinic in Somerset West on Saturday morning. He was admitted to hospital after he fell at his home in Stellenbosch on Friday evening.

While frail, he was still in quite good health and even attended the annual party for ex-members of the editorial staff of Beeld newspaper on the previous Monday.

Ben, a previous MJOY winner (1990) and the best newspaper journalist in 1986 and 1992, will be remembered for his contribution to the growth and preservation of Afrikaans in motoring journalism over a career spanning nearly forty years.

He was acknowledged as the doyen of Afrikaans motoring writers, and was a mentor to many young and upcoming Afrikaans motoring journalists. A charming, well-mannered and gentle man, he will also be remembered for his love of good red wine and interesting conversation.

After studying at the University of Stellenbosch and working at the FCU farmer’s co-op in the erstwhile South West Africa, he joined the SABC as a journalist in 1960. In 1963 he was appointed as the motoring editor of Die Volksblad. During this time he married Tina and they had two children, Bennie and Madeléne. While he and Tina later divorced, they stayed good friends. Over the next three decades Ben served as motoring editor of Die Beeld, Rapport, Beeld and Die Burger in the Naspers (later Media24) Group.

He retired from the group in May 1998 and moved to Saldanha on the West Coast with his new life partner Rina. As freelancer he started the Afrikaans motoring website,Alles Motors, in 2001 and later the English version called All Wheels, which he edited until recently. Three years ago, at the age of 80, he married Rina and the couple moved to a retirement resort in Stellenbosch soon afterwards.

Ben’s contribution to the Guild and motoring journalism in general will always be remembered. We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Rina, Tina, Bennie and his wife, Thelma, and Madelene.

A memorial service for Ben will be held in the NG (Dutch Reformed) Church, Stellenbosch West, at 12h00 on Monday, 29 December 2015. The church is located at 3 Alexander Street in Stellenbosch. Rina extends a warm welcome to anyone who would like to say a few short words at the service to celebrate his memory with us.