This biography received from Stan Harris on 7th November 2022. With thanks.
I am prompted to put in writing some Rhodesia/Zimbabwe thoughts I have.
Mine is a Zimbabwe story. I have tried to find my “family roots” with little success. I know my mothers’ family came from Krakow. My fathers family came from Russia/Germany.
The fact is my mother was born in Bulawayo. Her father came on the first train to
Bulawayo. Jacob Banet. My farther, Lionel, came from Port Elizabeth. He and his
brother in law. Louis Banet opened a Furniture store in Salisbury. It became very well
known “Banet & Harris”.
I was born in Salisbury and had two sisters . Lionel, my father was very active in the
community. He served on many committees and was Honoury Life president of the
Shul. He started Habonim in Salisbury. An active sportsman who played cricket for
Mashonaland. He played tenis and Golf. He was very conscious of the youth and
started a boxing club to encourage young Jewish boys.
My mother, Freda did her part with the Loyal Womans Guild and WIZO’
Habonim was a big part of my junior life and the annual Tournament over “Rhodes and Founders” between Salisbury and Bulawayo was a very important event. We were always the victors and my closest rivals Bernie Myers and Ref Yudelman are sadly not with us to dispute this fact!
Me, I did what was necessary, went to Prince Edward School, and Cape Town
university. I married a girl from East London,Laureen Altshuler, a prominent family well connected with the Schul. We set up home in Harare, Much water flowed under the bridge during which time we went on Aliya with our three young children .After three years We returned to Harare, I had established my furniture factory, Harlequin Furniture, and I continued where I left off only to return to Israel in 2001. We followed our children!
These were productive years. My son Anthony got involved with the tennis in Ramat
Hasharon. Laureen played Bowls and was National Champion. When we returned to Zimbabwe my communal life took another turn, Muriel Rosin the president of the Zimbabwe Board of Deputies, called on me to take over her role on the
This was a very active time and I became very involved. It was a time when Zimbabwe
had no “connection” with Israel. Finally the situation changed and Israel became
recognized by Zimbabwe. I accompanied the Israeli ambassador, based in Pretoria to
present his credentials to the President Mugabe. This was followed by a permanent
Israeli Ambassador, Gershon Gan, to be appointed for the first time. And once again I
accompanied him with pride, to State House.
The Board became very active. I was always assisted by CAZO, Adolf Leon and Zack
Menashe who accompanied me on such visits. One in particular was an occasion the
president made some very disparaging remarks about the Jews and Israel. We
demanded an apology and I eventually obtained the necessary acknowledgement and we met the president. He did not apologise but he “smoothed” it over and I was satisfied to have made our feelings heard.
I served on the board of The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of Zimbabwe
and was a vice Chairman. One of the projects that were established was the eye clinic by the JDC. A young Israelie doctor, Yair Porges came to set it up and we assisted him with this project. This was very successful but not much appreciation was shown by our Government.
Communal life in Harare and Zimbabwe continued but under duress, The two
congregations struggled to keep up, The Shuls struggled to find Rabbis and it was up to the congregation leaders to cover. Schools kept up and did remarkably well under the circumstances. As a Governor of Sharon School, I can attest to this.
Finally I retired and we went to live in Cape Town.
Meanwhile our two daughters had established themselves in Israel. Melanie and her
husband, Dror, have two sons. Sandra, our second daughter has made her home in
Thailand. She and her husband Adi, have a daughter. Anthony established the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy in cape town which he and his
wife Dionne run with considerable success.
See below a video interview with Stan from April 2016
Pictures below of Stan and Laureen and then Stan in his early years in Habonim and as a member of the Jewish Rugby team with Stan holding the ball.