Sibbett, Cecil James

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Sibbett, Cecil James

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Cecil James Sibbett was born on 16 March 1881 in Belfast and at the age of 16 he emigrated with his father to Cape Town. Shortly before the outbreak of the South African War, Sibbett founded the South African Advertising Agency, a business which in the 1930s he was to sell to I.W. Schlesinger on terms that enabled him to retire from the commercial scene and devote his time to the many public activities he had long interested himself in. Among these can be numbered the S.A. National Thrift Organization (which he set up in 1919), the 1820 Memorial Settlers' Association (of which he was long chairman) and the South African National Gallery (on whose board of trustees he sat and then chaired). Within a short time after his arrival in the Cape, Sibbett joined a local branch of the South African League, an imperialist political organization, at the head of which presided Cecil Rhodes. This association with Rhodes, which is an abiding and dominant theme of Sibbett's life, was strengthened when in the years 1901‑1902 he became Rhodes's assistant political secretary and after his master's death, he strove to keep alive the memory of Rhodes whom he had on his own admission hero‑worshipped. His important collection of Rhodeseana he presented to the University of Cape Town, where it is now displayed. Sibbett died in 1967.


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