Family Secrets has been cancelled. Please contact the Summer School office for a refund. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Harris Gordon, previously Pricewaterhouse Coopers USA, currently Treasurer for Association Montessori Internationale, USA

This lunch-time lecture will trace the story of how Harris Gordon, born and raised in Cape Town, the only child of lower middle class Jewish parents, found out the true story of his parentage. In 1982, when his mother, Bella Gordon, came to the end of her life, she revealed information she had withheld from him for all his thirty five years. Her revelation was that Maurice Gordon, who had raised Harris as his son, was not in fact his biological father. His biological father was an Italian prisoner of war, Dante Mezzadri, captured by Allied forces at Tobruk and one of approximately 100 000 Italian POWs who had been incarcerated at Zonderwater near Pretoria. When Mussolini was defeated, the prisoners were released and Dante assigned to work on the Gordon’s farm at Vergelegen. The Gordons were unable to conceive a child nor permitted to adopt across religious lines. Bella Gordon chose a different path. During a brief affair with Dante, Harris was conceived. Dante later returned to his wife and daughters in Rome.

After the family secret was revealed, Harris began a twenty year search for the rest of his biological family. The lecture will describe a chance meeting which led him to the curator of a small museum on the site of Zonderwater and records received from Italy which led him to his two Italian step-sisters and their families. This story of identity re-definition will include a reference to the little known history of the role Maurice Gordon’s brother, Cecil Gordon, a top British war scientist, played in the Allied victory in WWII.


Course code: 1049

Date & time: Thursday 30 January 1.00 pm


Full: R75,00

Staff: R37,00

Reduced: R19,00

Tickets are on sale at the door only if seats are available: R86,00; staff & reduced (on production of cards): R45,00