“He was a friendly person, and he loved people. You would always find him greeting and chatting to strangers.”
This is how Maurice Levin will remember his beloved uncle, Sydney Becker, best known around the Atlantic Seaboard as Cape Town’s Rod Stewart.
Becker (83) died suddenly of a heart attack a month ago. Levin says his uncle worked as a window dresser at a leading clothing store for more than 35 years before he retired.
He says Becker, with his ash-blonde hair and stylish looks, always had people stopping him asking for an autograph, convinced that he was the British pop singer himself.
“I met him in 1982. I was looking for props for our matric dance. He’s the closest to a Rod Stewart doppelgänger that we have this side of the mountain,” says longstanding friend Herman Lategan.
Lategan says for many years, Becker’s clothing ensemble consisted of high platform shoes, bell-bottom pants, super-tight lace shirts, and “several bling necklaces swinging around his tanned neck”.
Levin says as a young person he grew up believing that his uncle was a famous star. “For my 30th birthday I went overseas, and I made sure I booked a Rod Stewart concert, my uncle inspired me to do that.”
He explains that the death of Becker came as a shock as the 83-year-old was always active and walked to wherever he needed to be.
Levin explains that Becker didn’t mind when “fans” came over to him wanting a photo or just greeting. “When we were in a restaurant he would play along and smile or take photos with them.”
Lategan echoes this and says: “One night, he told me, in a club in Buenos Aires, the manager stopped the music, got onto the stage and said: “We’d like to welcome Rod Stewart, please give him a hand. The place went mad, the crowd roared, there was a stampede. He had to run away as fast as he could. The next morning, he looked out of the hotel window to see a mob waiting for him.”
According to Lategan Becker was hired to drive around in a limousine and wave at people several years ago when the real Rod Stewart came to Cape Town. This was part of a publicity stunt.
Levin says what many people didn’t know is that his uncle was an art historian, movie historian and a book lover. He compiled many books over the years.
“We will miss the genuine person that he was. People who met him always walked away feeling uplifted,” concludes Levin.