Habonim youth movement

Updated August 2022

This section deals with the Habonim Zionist Youth Movement in Rhodesia which was started in the 1930s by Sadie (Kappie) Kaplan in Bulawayo. The movement was active in Harare (Salisbury), Bulawayo and Kadoma (Gatooma). There are several different albums in the website depicting the history of the movement which was essentially a branch and closely associated with the South African Movement. Habonim was the largest Jewish youth movement in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) followed by Betar and Bnei Akvia and for many years had its own campsite situated at the Weizman Sports Club outside Bulawayo. Activities consisted mainly of Sunday meetings at both Youth Centres in Harare and Bulawayo, a 10-day educational Seminar during the August school holidays in Harare, a 10-day Camp under tents in Bulawayo during the April school holidays and a 21-day Camp under tents at Onrust in South Africa.

The movement started out mainly as a scout organisation in S. Africa under the guidance of one of its key leaders Norman Lurie and Bertie Stern and then and over the years, especially after the 2nd World War, developed a stronger Zionistic and then Socialist ideology. Many of its members went on various educational programs and some made their homes in Israel. Some of the scanned documents in the links below reveal the extent of Zimbabwe Habonim’s activities over the years in providing a unique educational and recreational framework for the Jewish youth. From the 1960s through the late 1970s several Israeli shlichim came out to help educate and guide the young leaders of the movement.

Special thanks to the following for contributing material : Eric Hassall, Leon Udwin, Stan Harris, Mervyn Lasovsky, Colin Gordon, Bertie Amato, Nick Alhadeff, Issy Peimer and Gaby Haimowitz.  

Click on the galleries to the right and below to see the several hundred images that have been collected.

With thanks to Mervyn Lasovsky z”l for some of the material.