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News & Press: 2014 News Items

In Memoriam: Prof. James Rabie

Thursday, 13 March 2014   (3 Comments)
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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Professor James Rabie was born on 24 November 1929 and passed away, age 84, on 31 December 2013. Prof. Rabie was a senior member of the ASAQS who devoted his life to training young quantity surveyors in Cape Town.

Two of his old students bring tribute to this great man.

Chris Sandes of Dunedin Construction in Cape Town writes:

"Having been lectured by him and also having the pleasure to work for him firstly as a student and then newly qualified I got to know him very well.

He hated long hair and made my life a misery instructing me to have my haircut! He was a fair man but always liked a practical joke (especially if Alan Stevens was around!!). He knew the JBCC contract backwards and his lectures were memorable. While some people questioned his appointment as Professor as he did not have a degree, he showed you did not always have to be an academic in the pure sense to be a good lecturer and later as Dean leader of the faculty he proved to be outstanding. 
A very sad day for me to hear this news. RIP Prof James William Rabie."

Dave Lindenberg of Cape Town records:

‘I was one of James Rabie’s students at UCT in the late sixties and early seventies. He was highly regarded as a lecturer and was a stickler for detail, accuracy and punctuality. Those were the days when every technical description in the subject of Quantities pertaining to the order of the wording the description, the punctuation and the grammar had to be perfectly correct. We were marked down if abbreviations were not correct. Punctuality was non-negotiable at his lectures. If we arrived late we were barred from attending. Apart from all his pedantic quirks, we came through his teaching extremely well prepared for the professional world.

One day I received a call from James who was then also chairperson of UCT’s Building and Development Committee. He said, ‘Lindenberg I think it’s time your firm (then De Villiers & De Villiers) be appointed for a UCT project.” James then proceeded to read me the riot act as to what he expected of us and what the outcome would be if we did not deliver. Well, we did deliver and that was the start of a long personal and practice relationship with UCT. Thank you James for your confidence in us and the valued opportunity you provided.

James was also an astute arbitrator. His logical and clinical approach to interpretation of the building contract was most enlightening.

He was a straight talker and didn’t spare anyone’s ego when analysing an opinion or situation. I had great appreciation for his knowledge, wisdom and experience.

Farewell valued teacher, mentor and professional colleague!’

Dave Lindenberg on behalf of all at Talani Quantity Surveyors (Pty) Ltd


Robert Gilfillan Pearl Prof says...
Posted Tuesday, 18 March 2014
James was an unforgettable person. All those of us who were fortunate to have him as a teacher had the utmost respect for his knowledge and professional demeanour ('rough' as it sometimes was!). I am very grateful to have had him as a teacher and, for a short period, as a colleague when starting out in academic life. He is definitely one of the few that I can identify as an 'icon' of the QS world in SA.
Martin C. Treadaway Mr says...
Posted Sunday, 16 March 2014
I too was lucky enough to be lectured by Prof Rabie. His manner and techniques stay with me today and at the time as a young student he gave me hope that I had joined a sane profession.
Michael Jerome Wood Sr says...
Posted Saturday, 15 March 2014
I would like to remember James as a lecture and when I was with him and in the class with Eileen McNally and we covered the sanitary fittings when James was finished the lecture Eileen stood up and asked why he had covered everything except Bidets. Well James went red in the face and told Eileen to go and find it out by her self much to the laughter of the class. He was always a straight lecture and always was interested in what we were all doing, a great guy. Mike Wood, Michael J Wood Quantity Surveyor cc t/a Bloch, Quarmby, Higgs & Partners [PE]