Carrie Ebstein (b. Bradford, Yorkshire, 29/03/1887 – d. Johannesburg, 16/04/1967) was a writer, radio announcer, journalist, newspaper editor and publicist.
Caroline (Carrie) Agnes Ebstein was the daughter of German-born Richard Ebstein, who became a British citizen in 1888. When her mother, Bertha Mayer, died in 1904, her profession was given as “artiste”. The family settled in South Africa in 1901 and in 1916 Carrie contributed the story for a scenario Norman H. Lee wrote for the film Sonny’s Little Bit, directed by Lorimer Johnston. The following year she wrote The Mealie Kids, which was probably directed by Dick Cruikshanks.
She wrote a number of children’s books, including the patriotic The Gift Book of the Fatherless Children of the Fallen South African Soldiers and Sailors, for which Norman H. Lee designed the cover. The proceeds of the sales went to the Governor-General’s Fund for war orphans. In 1924 she became one of the country’s first female broadcasters, this time under her married name, Carrie Rothkugel. Later, during World War II, she was the editor of such radio programmes as Comrades of the War and Woman at Home.
She edited four social and show business magazines before becoming the social editor of The Star, starting a career in journalism that lasted for 20 years. In 1943 she retired from the newspaper world and turned her hand to public relations, a profession she kept up until shortly before her death at the age of 80. Interestingly, in 1946 the Showmen’s Trade Review, based in New York, reported that a clever display for MGM’s Our Vines Have Tender Grapes was designed and executed by Mrs. Carrie Rothkugel of the South Africa head office exploitation staff for exhibition at a Johannesburg department store. Throughout her life she was a prominent figure around town and took part in many social and charity events. She married engineer Max Rothkugel, who died in 1947.
Sunday Times, 1 April 1917
Rand Daily Mail, 30 October 1957
Rand Daily Mail, 18 April 1967
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