Publication: Noseweek Issued: Date: 2004-05-01 Reporter:

Kebble Quibble



Noseweek, Letters

Date May 2004

Web Link


I have been reading noseweek over many years. Occasionally in a speech I have referred to noseweek as an excellent example of high quality journalism. I was, however, very disappointed in the article on Brett Kebble in nose55 - not only because he is a client of ours.

I regard your criticism of high-profile people as being of great value, but this article, while referring to a large number of topics, lacks a proper investigation of the facts to support the views of the author. It is also unfair to people other than Brett Kebble, such as the young polo player photographed on horseback. This was a very deserving case where a black person with no future, very gifted - but no prospect of developing those gifts, was assisted by Kebble to not only develop his talents but also to participate on a competitive level. The impression created is that he is just a puppet and that, in fact, his development has not been advanced by Kebble's intervention. The article is not on your level of journalism, taking as it does so many issues completely out of context.

Good luck for the future.

Adv. Willem Heath,
Heath Executive Accountants

On this occasion the purpose of our piece was not to investigate an issue, but to present a "profile" of a prominent individual, a character sketch - a creative exercise - that offers an interpretation of the man and his position in society. For all that, the research cannot have been to bad, or you would surely not have used your only example for criticism our reference to the young black polo player. The point of the reference in our story was not to establish whether the young man derived benefit or not from Kebble's sponsorship, but rather what the somewhat bizarre incident told us about the character and motives of Kebble and his PR-advisor. Take a look at that photograph again; what is it's most striking feature? Brett Kebble of course!

Thanks for declaring your interest - and for the good wishes. - Ed

To label the Brett Kebble Art Awards as nothing but "a shameless attempt to divert public attention" is an insult to the integrity of all involved in this project, from the judges to the artists who entered.

Where is the rule written that patronage and sponsorship of the visual arts has to be strictly altruistic in order to be legitimate? When it comes to sport and entertainment, large corporations throw sums of money to sponsor tournaments, concerts and even parties with the obvious objective of gaining visibility for their brand. In the field of education and science individuals and corporations such as Anglo American and Sasol allocate massive funds for the furthering of particular fields, ensuring that their corporate identity is as visible as the signature on each cheque they sign, and so it should be.

Without the support and commitment of these funders, the growth and development of these sectors would not be possible, starving all citizens of the country of the many opportunities that these non-profit driven ventures bring. The relationship between a funder and his project of choice should always be a mutually beneficial one in order to assure the healthy development of both.

To believe that sponsorship of the arts should be an altruistic mission is naïve, but to believe that this strips such projects of all credibility is simply insulting.

The 2003 inaugural Brett Kebble Awards received more than 1600 submissions, arguably the most entries for an art competition in the country. These entrants included some of the top names in the contemporary South African arts industry.

As for the shadow cast upon the judges, as highly respected artists and academics, their credentials are unquestionable. What archaic, preconceived notions assume that professionals with numerous degrees and expertise in their field are accused of compromising their integrity when they are afforded the same treatment that is norm in the corporate and governmental sectors, where professionals are expected to demand top dollar, with expense accounts and first class flying is the norm. The selection of judges in such an award is what determines both the credibility and standard of such an event.

The ‘blushing' judges referred to in the noseweek article, as well an additional highly regarded judge and two selectors have all agreed to put their reputations behind the Brett Kebble Awards 2004. A definite confirmation of their belief in the integrity of the project if there ever was one!

Taryn Cohn,
Media Liason,
Brett Kebble Awards

We note that your email address is that of Mr Kebble's ubiquitous PR man David Barritt.

What you say is absolutely correct - but where's the rule that says we should not point out how tacky it all is.

By your account all the artists and judges are happy to have promoted the "healthy development" of Mr Kebble's less-than-savoury business interests.

That does raise questions about their intelligence and / or integrity. Regard that as an insult if you will. - Ed.

In your article on Brett Kebble you wonder where he is going to get his R400m, given that the politically motivated goodwill and credit of the banks may have dried up. Does the answer not lie in your article? You mention that he celebrated the appointment of his friend as head of Old Mutual Asset Management. Having learned a thing or two from noseweek, I’ll be keeping an eye on where OM investors’ money gets invested.

D.P. Kramer


With acknowledgements to Adv. Willem Heath, Taryn Cohn, D.P. Kramer and Noseweek.