Tribute Series to Ikey Legend, Basil Bey.

Part 5: Short Tributes by 1961 UCT 1st XV

– David Barrow

– John Benn

– Rob Bertram

– Bucky Buchanan

David Barrow

1961 UCT 1st XV Intervarsity Winner (Scrum-Half)

To have played rugby with Basil Bey at UCT from the early 1960s, was a real privilege and honour. He always commanded a deep respect from all, with his ability to understand and get on with people. We played our winning rugby with Basil as our leader, and received immense enjoyment by being together, and appreciating this friendship bond, which lasted a lifetime.

Thank you, Basil. R.I. P.


John Benn

1961 UCT 1st XV Intervarsity Winner (Fly-Half) (Vice-Captain)

I salute the memory of an icon of Varsity rugby. His generosity of spirit and concern for others was evident in so many ways. In my case, beginning with giving me one of his brother Adrian’s tennis racquets when I couldn’t afford to buy one (Adrian was a Rhodesian Davis Cup player). Later, when I captained UCT in his absence in a pre-season friendly against Swifts of Uitenhage, I was concussed by a late tackle. My only memory was of Basil with a leg in a plaster cast helping me up the steps to Rugby Road together with my Dad with his walking stick!

Not the strongest prop, but a leader with a remarkable turn of phrase. Battling against Paarl at Newlands with Tiny Neethling his opposite number, we were awarded a scrum penalty about which Tiny voiced profound objection. Basil’s responded: “shut up you toothless wonder” – it took the wind out of their sails and we won the game.

A great team man and inspirational leader. One will never know just how many people he influenced positively through his rugby and teaching careers.


Rob Bertram

1961 UCT 1st1961 UCT 1st XV Intervarsity Winner (Hooker)

I knew Basil (and Zeta) from the early days as he was the older brother of my pal Adrian, a formidable tennis player. This hulk of a boy, high on intellect and, to me, very private, became one of my childhood heroes. I remember Basil as an outstanding rugby player and later captain of a famous old Salisbury school (under whose shadow our newer institute dwelled), and treader of the boards in the annual presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan – accompanied by some of the top sporting figures from whom we schoolboys drew our admiration.

On arrival at UCT, keen to play any rugby but from an area where no schoolboy provincial sides were selected, I was in awe of the competition for places in the Under 19 sides. With nothing but a game for Southern Rhodesia Under 19 under my belt, I always had a sneaking feeling that Basil – as Club Captain – would give me the opportunity, and could not believe it when I was selected as the only Under 19 to go on Senior Tour that year. From then, my love affair with UCT Rugby never looked back.

We all followed Basil, we did what he told us to do, we all became friends and remain so to this day, 65 years later.

We lost an Intervarsity that we could have won when we were reduced to 14 due to injury, no replacements then, and won an Intervarsity at Coetzenberg that we could have lost but for a remarkable defensive last five minutes as Matie backs attacked and attacked. We always managed to win the league game against the Maties and especially my last game for UCT when, in the final minute (with the help of 7 other forwards), we scraped a tight head and our nimble squash playing scrum half leapt over for a try. We shared the Grand Challenge for those two years.

We played non-stop open rugby and loved every minute of it. We remember the gatherings for tea on the Sunday after a match, a special innovation of Basil to increase our bonding. We would have walked on water for Field Marshall Basil and his equally wise General Louis de Waal.


Bucky Buchanan

1961 UCT 1st XV Intervarsity Winner

A short and sincere tribute to Basil, captain, coach, housemate and friend. I had the privilege to experience all over many years. I will indeed miss, but never forget this remarkable man.

A Tribute Series to Ikey Legend, Basil Bey.

That great rugby man, a massive figure in my life, and in the lives of many of us, Basil Bey, ‘Pops’, as I affectionately called him, or Bey Pasha, passed away a short while ago. Basil had been critically ill with cancer for a long time, and when it spread to his bones, the referee was playing optional time.