In Memory

Mike Macnab

Mike Macnab is remembered as a mature, calm, and amiable classmate, and he retained these characteristics throughout his life --  always sociable and courteous, and unruffled in any situation. 

He thought well of his time at DHS,  but was highly critical of the powers entrusted to prefects -- he was "constantly in the prefects room getting wacked".  After leaving school and doing his stint in the miltiary, Mike attended the University of Natal where he took a B.Com and then an LL.B degree.

Mike was keenly interested in politics from an early age.  He joined the newly founded Progressive Party while still at school, and was active in the Young Progressives.   At Natal University he was elected to the Students Representative Council and was a prominent member of NUSAS.  He followed world political news avidly throughout his life, and unlike many, did not become more conservative with the passage of the years. He even paid close attention to English-language Russian TV, which he knew to be mostly propaganda, but which he found a useful corrective to Western media which he regarded as too uncritical of the establishment.

Mike believed that life was to be enjoyed.  In his answer to a question on a class website about his interests, he stated simply,  "Women and wine".   This was not meant as a coarse joke, but rather a matter-of-fact statement.  Mike believed that life's greatest physical pleasures were carnal knowledge of women and enjoyment of fine wines, and he indulged both in copious fashion.

Mike entered a banking career and was soon in New York.  During the 1970s and 1980s he worked in commercial banking by day and pursued his other interests at night in the singles bars and clubs of that vibrant city.  He was rapidly promoted and eventually handled loans of hundreds of millions of dollars to clients in the USA and Canada.  One applicant whose loan application he turned down was the New York property developer Donald Trump, who Mike considered callow and dishonest. 

But Mike found that his job was becoming a high-pressure rat race, distracting from rather than enhancing the pleasure of living.   So he gave it up, returned to South Africa, settled down with a new partner Lynne Holding, and launched a country lodge in the Natal Midlands.  Together Mike and Lynne renovated an old 40-acre farm property and created Lastingham, a lodge with luxurious suites in Victorian-Edwardian style.  Here Mike was in his element, presiding hospitably over superb meals that he cooked himself, and plying his guests with excellent wines and worldly conversation.  The lodge ( won numerous 5-star reviews on Trip Advisor and other online sites, often with plaudits to the genial host.  Unfortunately some more recent reviews raise maintenance and other issues, reflecting Mike's declining health.

Mike Macnab passed away on 9th March 2020, after a life lived and enjoyed very much on his own terms.   He is survived by his parter, Lynne Holding;  his daughter Michele, born in 1982 during a brief marriage in Canada, who is an honours graduate of Rhodes University and  founder and manager of Hells Bells Digital in Cape Town;  and his and Lynne's son Cuan, born in 1998, who attended Michaelhouse and is now a student at Stellenbosch University.

                                                                                                                                                                   (Conributed by Ian Robertson, Class of 1961)

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03/18/20 03:52 PM #1    

Stuart Clark

Mike and I were not close at school - but we were friends.  Our primary interaction was when he and Ian Robertson, as the new Progs, and I as the UP guy, used to argue about politics. However we became good friends at UND, as we did B.Comms and LLBs together, and worked on Rag together.

I last saw Mike at the Class of 1963 50th anniversary dinner. And prior to that, I saw him in 1979 when he was working in Toronto.  On which occasion we got smashed in a local pub, and he kept on ignoring messages from his wife to come home as they had dinner guests. I think he left after 9.00 p.m.!  Except for the anniversary events, I had not seen Mike since I moved to the US over 33 years ago.

My life was enriched by knowing Mike, and being able to call him a friend.  I am truly saddened by his death.

Stuart Clark, Class of 1963

03/19/20 02:04 PM #2    

Stuart Clark

Alwyn Moerdyk asked me to post this tribute to Mike:

Tribute to Mike MacNab

I knew Mike as a good friend during high school and am very sorry to 
hear of his passing. I went on several holidays with him and his 
family on the South Coast of KZN – Park Rennie I think it was. I made 
contact with him again about five years ago and spent a great weekend 
at Lastingham. He was graceful enough not to charge my wife and me for 
this. May he rest in peace – or may he do everything he really liked, 
which does not sound very peaceful.

Goodbye, Mike, and my thoughts are with those you loved.

Alwyn Moerdyk
Class of 63 and resident of Grahamstown


03/20/20 06:44 AM #3    

Tony Daymond

Mike Mc Nabb was a truly international man. Besides his wide travel and his career together with politics connected him to wide sources of influence and information. I learnt this this on a fishing trip to Cape Vidal where Chris had asked his brother Mike and dad John to join us at our camp.Our supply of Lion Larger cans caked in Couta slime and beach sand were running low  the dry ice was history and it had rained for 3 days  Mike arrived with liters of the finest chilled cape whites together with Cab save for John  a fold out table and table cloth  we spent the next two or three days around the table dressed in our speedos listening to Mike's enthralling tales all the time quaffing his best wine  he was enthralling and charming just like Ian has pictured him so skillfully above  A charming and worldly man who will be missed  


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