Nat Bregman

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Nat Bregman (1923-2011) was a stage and radio personality, an amateur comedian by night, and a conveyancing lawyer by day.


Nat Bregman was born in Lithuania and was four years old when he arrived in South Africa as a four-year-old, unable to speak any language other than Yiddish.

Through a series of odd jobs and hard work, he put himself through university, earned a law degree and married Rosa.

Bregman shared an office for three years at the premises of attorneys Sidelksy, Witkin and Eidelman, Johannesburg, with Nelson Mandela, starting in the early 1940s, when they did their articles together.

Bregman was a member of the Communist Party and invited Mandela to attend ‘mixed parties’ with him. Mandela was impressed by this action.

Mandela described Bregman as “bright, pleasant, and thoughtful” in his book, Long Walk to Freedom.

“He seemed entirely colour-blind and became my first white friend.”

Mandela told how Bregman, a member of the Communist Party, used a sandwich to illustrate how communism worked.

Bregman took out a sandwich and instructed Mandela to break it in half and to eat it.

“We (Communists) share everything that we have,” said Bregman.

Contribution to SA theatre

April, 1948: Grand Variety Revue at the North Eastern Hebrew Congregation Communal Hall, Johannesburg.

1956: Bottoms Up, a variety cocktail cabaret directed by Stanley Nathan in aid of the South African Nurses Trust Fund at the Feather Market Hall, Port Elizabeth on November 21, 1956.


The Zionist Record, Friday, January 1948

Bottoms Up theatre programme, 1956.

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