Don MacRobert

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Patent and Intellectual Property Lawyer.

Obtained BA LLB Degrees at UCT; was called to the Bar in the UK, through Grays Inn, and then qualified as a patent attorney (FSAIPA).


Was Founder Chairman of the Lawyers for Human Rights movement in Pretoria.


In his individual capacity, he successfully sued the National Environmental Minister for the rape of the Transkei coast.


Was President of the Pretoria Chamber of Commerce and served on various ASSOCOM sub-committees. Was elected to, and still serves on, the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris. Was a Director of some companies listed on the Stock Exchange. Is a past President of the Licensing Executive Society (SA), and he has served on the Credit Committees of Investec, and the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation).


Has pioneered certain initiatives in the education field including:

1. Outreach – where St Alban’s College, Pretoria, during his years as Chairman of the Governing Board, was the first school in South Africa to put its facilities to greater use for disadvantaged communities, and where education courses were offered to teachers and pupils from Soweto, and Mamelodi.

2. After practising as an IP Lawyer for 17 years, he was invited to set up Get Ahead Foundation, and worked in Soweto (and other townships) for 15 years where fellow Directors included Dr Nthato Motlana, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other community leaders. Get Ahead focused on creating jobs in the informal sector, and through its micro credit programme and training initiatives, it created hundreds of thousands of jobs. For the year ending 1998, they created 40,000 jobs.


Mr MacRobert has been granted the Paul Harris Award from Rotary International. Archbishop Desmond Tutu conferred on him the St Michael’s Award at Michaelhouse. Outward Bound SA conferred on him the Kurt Hahn Award for service. At madam Tussaud’s, in London, he was runner-up for The World Intellectual Property Lawyer Award.

He has represented all four Nobel Peace Prize Winners, namely Archbishop Tutu, President De Klerk, President Mandela and the Albert Luthuli Foundation.

He is a fitness enthusiast. Apart from completing many Argus Cycle Tours and Midmar Mile swims, he jogs half marathons, slowly. For fun he ran the original Greek Marathon. For excitement he ran before the bulls of Pamplona. At 70 years he completed the New York Marathon.


He is at present a consultant to Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, in their Intellectual Property Division.