“He was a mentor figure, somebody to whom Paul Adams (a former South African left-arm wrist spinner and current Cape Cobras coach) looked up to,” Aubrey Kolbe, his brother, said.
Kolbe (72) passed away on Tuesday after suffering a series of strokes earlier in the year.
A former chairman of St. Augustine Cricket Club, he served cricket and the community for several decades.
As a leg-spinner and useful lower order batsman, he forced his way into the Western Province team (South African Cricket Board of Control) and struck a half-century while also capturing seven wickets at an average of 13.71 and a career-best at provincial level of 4-52.
“He was constantly amongst the three best players at St. Augustine Cricket Club,” Aubrey Kolbe said.
Kolbe worked in the printing industry for more than 30 years.
He endeared himself to the community with his selfless humanitarian work, and was a founder figure of the Aquarius School Feeding Scheme.
“He actually offered his services to schools as a coach, but then became aware of the fact that many people bemoaned the lack of nutrition, of bread, for children. For several years, maybe even more than a decade, he organized delivery of bread to schools on the Cape Flats. He was affectionately known as the Bread Man,” remembered George Damon, a family friend.
“Apart from being an outstanding bowler, he was the personification of love. He was a true gentleman and a gift from God,” an emotional Damon said.
“His love for cricket and for the people at St. Augustine Cricket Club was so strong that even when his movement was restricted for health reasons, people would take him to club games. He never missed one.
When Kolbe became aware of different needs in the community, like rain coats, he would organize the purchasing and delivery of those as well, Damonn add.
Kolbe’s widow, Lorna, said the funeral arrangements have not been finalized yet.
Beresford Williams, a former chairman of St. Augustine Cricket Club and present life member of the club, said that besides being an outstanding cricketer, mentor and community man, Kolbe was also a true club champion who served the game at all levels.
“He had an astute understanding of the heartbeat of a community and what was needed to sustain families, and he not only spoke compassion; he embodied it.”