24 Inducted Into Sport Legends Hall Of Fame As PS4L Celebrates Heritage Month

Play Sport4Life inducted 24 new members into its Sports Legends Hall of Fame in a gala ceremony to acknowledge and honour their contribution as part of the Heritage Month celebrations.

In front of a packed Kaleidoscope venue in Claremont, the 24 inductees – drawn from a range of sports codes including athletics, rugby, cricket, baseball and softball, hockey and football – received their awards from Play Sport4Life head, Miles October.

Last year the community-based not-for-profit organisation held it first multi-code induction of Hall of Fame recipients. Previously the organisation had similar events for athletics and baseball and softball.

October said this year’s group of inductees were drawn once again from the ranks of people who were involved in non-racial sport played under the aegis of the South African Council on Sport (SACOS) that followed the dictum of “you can’t play normal sport in an abnormal society”.

These people  stuck to their principles and turned their backs on opportunities for greater glory in the interests of the broader context of the struggle for liberation,” October said.

They made sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty under extremely trying circumstances. When sport was being used to paint an acceptable  picture of the apartheid system by co-opting people of colour to play ‘on the other side’, these people stood firm.

They were uncompromising in their commitment to non-racial sport and a non-racial society and for that they have to be admired, acknowledged and honoured.

As was the case last year, we fittingly chose Heritage Month to honour them. Their actions  are part of  our legacy and we have to make sure the ‘born frees’ know who our sports heroes were.

In deciding on recipients for this year, Play Sport4Life again opted to look beyond the major codes. Last year “legends” were identified in karate and table-tennis.

This year who have acknowledged the likes of darts giant George Cottle, chess legend Andre van Reenen, body-builder David Isaacs, and Doreen Solomons for her work in the field of gymnastics,” October said.

Another worthy inductee this year is Muriel Abrahams. She may not have reached the lofty heights of the others on the sport fields but without her contribution in the ‘back room’, sports events would not have run as smoothly.  In the pre-Internet and computer days, people like Muriel, working as clerks in the sports offices had to work long hours to keep records and fixtures and results up to date.

“A number of our recipients this year went from being active sports people to high-profile administrators guiding the fortunes of the next generation under the banner of SACOS. They too are our legends.

Most of the recipients are of advanced years and some could  not attend the function because they are infirm or bedridden. Their awards will be presented privately.

A full list of the recipients is attached.

A selection of photographs of inductees receiving their awards are attached. Photographs of particular individuals can be requested.


Athlete, footballer and top administrator

IT HELPS when your biggest inspiration in what turns out to be a sparkling career in athletics and football is your dad.

In the late 1960s, the 100 and 200m sprints in the WP Senior Schools Sports Union’s athletics meetings at the Green Point Track were dominated by a star-studded trio, of which two were from Alexander Sinton and one from Harold Cressy.

The Sintonites were Herman Gibbs and Ivan Masters. The Cressy athlete was a lanky speedster named Alex Abercrombie who, from age six, had shown all the attributes of a star-in-the-making. He didn’t let his backers down – and, in fact, after his playing days were over, he became one of South Africa’s top football administrators.

“My dad was a footballer and a cyclist in his day,” says Abercrombie. “Later, when he became an athletics administrator, he used to take me and my brother, Stephen, along with him to field and track meetings at the Dal Josaphat Stadium in Paarl, and the Green Point Track in Cape Town.

The nurturing of the budding star began early. “I was six years when I ran my first race at a meeting in Paarl,” he says. Many sprints followed – with more firsts achieved than minor placings. By the time Abercrombie reached high school he was regarded as THE runner to beat, a “banker” in betting parlance.

Like so many other sports-crazy youngsters of his time, he also proved to be a footballer of great ability.

Again it was old man Abercrombie who sparked his interest in the sport. “I started playing where most boys of my age started honing their skills – in the streets where I lived, and at school.”

But there was something else, he points out: “My father, who was a physiotherapist, worked with the players of Cape Ramblers, and I attended all their home games at the Track.”

Abercrombie did not make it into the pro ranks as a footballer – and because of apartheid, there was to be no opportunity for him to participate in the Olympics. But as the years passed, he began to display an affinity for sports administration. 

It started early. “As a young lawyer playing football (for St Raphaels), it was difficult not to make myself available to serve on the executive. I felt I could not sit back and criticise others about the way they dealt with meetings and disciplinary hearings without stepping in to assist. I felt it was my duty to help the members of the football community who at that time were short of people with the type of skills I had. This led to my nomination to serve at higher levels (Cape FA at Turfhall, WP Football Board and the SA Soccer Federation) until I ended up on the SAFA executive committee.

“The Federation was a member of Sacos of which I was a strong supporter. However, after meeting with the ANC in exile in Lusaka in 1987, I was inspired to work towards the unification of sport in South Africa and became a founder member of the National Sports Congress (NSC).”

Abdurahman “Lefty” Adams

Always the right man to guide his cricket team

Any bowler who can take a hat-trick in both innings of a match or average 100 wickets a season for 14 seasons has to be right up there with the best.

Abdurahman “Lefty” Adams was one such bowler. His feats filled the sports pages of local newspapers after every weekend’s matches. And the story was almost always the same – his team was in trouble and they would call on “Lefty” to save the day.

Born in 1937, “Lefty” started his career in 1953 when he was called into the Roslyns team (he was the scorer) because they were a man short. The cricket trousers were so long, they had to be rolled up several times.

It was the beginning of a lengthy spell that saw him play for Eastern Province where he went to work and, of course, for Western Province.

At the age of 42, he was asked to come out of retirement to take over from the legendary Rushdie Majiet.

After retirement, he took over the management of the WP team and was a selector for three years.

Although “Lefty” is regarded as one of the icons he feels that there were others who were lost to the game because of apartheid and the Group Areas Act which uprooted players, officials and spectators.

Anthony staak

Man of the people

IN HIS many decades of involvement in chess Andre van Reenen was regarded as a strong mover and shaker in the fight against supporters of apartheid laws and norms.

In a far-too-short pen-pic in a chess publication of a few years ago, Van Reenen was described as someone who had…

  • Been involved in chess for more than 50 years;
  • Played a huge role in forming chess clubs on the Cape Flats;
  • Started forming chess clubs in District Six after the forced removals of the 1960s;
  • Formed the black WO Chess Association in the 1970s.
  • Was elected president of Chess SA in 1996.

But this didn’t tell half the story of his journey via chess in a country with rulers besotted with apartheid. In 1966, he was the central figure in a saga that caused half the members of the False Bay Chess Club to resign. It followed a unilateral decision by the False Bay’s top official to accept him as a member. As far as rank-and-file members of the club were concerned it was a case of each colour to his or her own.

In 1970, Van Reenen led a breakaway from white-controlled chess to form, first, the South African Chess Association (SACA), and, later, the Chess Association for the People of South Africa (CAPSA), which later affiliated to SACOS.

The contention that racially separate clubs could compete against each other without incident was disproved repeatedly. A series of racial incidents reinforced the argument, especially after the advent of SACOS – that normal sport was impossible in an abnormal society. Following the countrywide protests in 1976, increasing numbers of black clubs began affiliating to Van Reenen’s CAPSA.

Van Reenen worked energetically for the isolation of white South African chess from the mid-70s onwards. Having read about International Arbiter Jerome Bibuld’s opposition to racism in the world, but particularly to apartheid, Van Reenen wrote to Bibuld.

It was the beginning of a long association in which Bibuld agreed to become the patron of the SACA, and later for the CAPSA. He also represented CAPSA at meetings of the international controlling body for the game, FIDE.

Bibuld was a huge barrier to white South African efforts to have an international ban lifted, insisting this would only come about once freedom had been attained for everyone in South Africa.

Although no longer involved in national and international chess, Van Reenen has maintained a strong interest in community chess, especially in the Bonteheuwel township.

Vince Belgians

The midfield general every team wanted

When Cape Town’s first “coloured” professional soccer team was formed, the word went out to find the best midfield “general” on the local scene. The player they settled on was Vincent Belgians.

He was something of a legend in the Factreton area where he was playing for St Athenians and another superstar of the game, Coenie Stuurman, had no hesitation in inviting him to join Cape Ramblers.

Coenie, who played for Norway Parks, knew Vince’s capabilities . . .  a midfielder who could distribute with aplomb, could join the attack with devastating results, and be a “hard man” when helping out in defence.

Vince was already playing first team at a tender age.  When he got his call up to Ramblers he was well equipped to deal with the “whizz kids” in teams like Orlando Pirates and Transvaal United.

Ramblers played at Green Point Track in front of huge crowds its players were household names in the Sixties.

When the apartheid regime put obstacles in the way of the professional code to stop the different “groups” playing against each other, Ramblers folded.

Vince found a home with Glenville FC and won trophies at club and Board level as well as inter-provincial level.

When the professional code was revived as the Federation Professional League Vince was tasked to lead Glenville’s professional side and their rivalry with the other local professional outfit, Cape Town Spurs, was legendary. Glenville always seemed to come out on top.

His post-professional days were spent with Devonshire Rovers and Bay City Ramblers.

These days he can be seen practising his golf swing on the playing fields around 14th Avenue in Factreton.

Anthony staak

And the golden years of non-racial squash

In the 1980s, squash became one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa. But there was a snag: it was in the era of apartheid sport – and there were no facilities to feed the appetite of those who believed in the ethos of non-racialism.

It was then that a sports enthusiast name Anthony Staak, and a group of friends decided to roll up their sleeves and to do something about the situation.

Better known as a champion athlete for South Peninsula High School, where his prowess in the 800m and shotput was rewarded with provincial colours at senior schools sports level, Staak had also played rugby at schools level and for the City and Suburban-based Philmanians club for a season.

His introduction to squash came from another direction. “I started playing socially while studying abroad,” he says, “and like so many others, I became hooked.”

But when he returned to South Africa, he found there were no squash facilities for enthusiasts who believed in the message of “no normal sport in an abnormal society”.

“There was a need for squash to be offered to those who wanted to play under the SACOS banner,” he says. But there was a matter – a not insignificant one – that needed first to be resolved. There were no clubs and, even more seriously, no venues. Fortunately, there was also no panic – and no thought of throwing in the towel.

Staak and others got the ball rolling by starting the first non-racial club – Trojans – in about 1981. “Very soon, the Western Squash Racquets Federation came into being. It was a time of great energy, initially in the Western Cape, and later in other parts of the country, with a number of clubs and associations being formed. In Cape Town, nine clubs began competing with each other at courts in Wynberg, Athlone, Elsies River and Retreat, under the Federation banner

Staak was elected the first president of the Federation, a position he served in for 10 years.

“We received good support from local business with regard to the building of courts, and we also received permission from the Western Province Council on Sport to use the squash facilities at the Peninsula Technikon and UWC,” Staak says.

“We took it very seriously”, he adds. “We established the sport from the ground up, which meant we had to learn the rules, train umpires and maintain discipline.

“It was a hectic time, and besides being president of the provincial federation, I also played for Trojans and Western Province B.”

The game, meanwhile, was also growing in other parts of the country, and when Natal established its own provincial body, it came together with its Western Province counterparts to establish the South African Squash Racquets Federation, with Staak as its vice-president.

In the second half of the 1980s, problems between SACOS and the ANC sports wing, the NSC, eventually led to the demise of the national federation.

It was at this point that Staak withdrew from administration of the game – and decided to concentrate instead on marathon running.

Aslam Toefy

On the rampage was on awesome sight

There was no more frightening sight on a rugby field in the ’70s than Aslam Toefy charging at the defence with ball in hand. At six-foot plus and weighing north of 120kg, it was a daunting task stopping this all-muscle mean machine.

With a nickname like “Tarzan”, what else could defenders expect.  Aslam wasn’t born into rugby. At the age of 21 he had no idea of the game. He was a seaman with Safmarine.  On a two-week break from the sea, he was taken to see his brother, Nazeem, play at Green Point. He “hadn’t a clue” what he was looking at but he loved the fisticuffs and the hard tackling.

He never went back to sea. He joined Kalk Bay Marines in 1974 and, playing as a lock or No 8, he was coached to be the enforcer.

The next season he was chosen for WP to replace the great Salie Fredericks who retired and he made the No 5 jersey his own for 10 years.

Aslam played with and against some of the greats of the SACOS-era rugby . . .

Nazeem who he rates as one of the best front-rowers ever, fullback Ghalieb Hendricks, Peter Jooste, of Tygerberg,  Temba Ludwaba, of Kwaru, Geba, of Boland, Saait Majiet and Moses,of City and Suburban.

Aslam is still an enforcer.  These days he devotes himself to ridding communities of the scourge of drug dealers.

Basil ‘Puzzy’ Jansen

The quintessential goal-poacher

In the pantheon of sporting legends in Cape Town and South Africa, Basil “Puzzy” Jansen was and is a superstar. The 81-year-old has been involved in the game for more than 70 years, first as a player, then as a coach and an administrator.

His list of achievements and accolades as a player would fill a book – from scoring 22 goals in a match to scoring multiple hat-tricks in consecutive games.

The feared boot of the quintessential goal-poaching centre-forward even broke goalkeepers’ fingers and knocked players out cold when they tried to head away a Puzzy screamer bound for the goal.

As a player, he is probably best known for his stint in the early Sixties with Cape Ramblers, the first professional club on the Cape Flats. The club drew 30,000-plus and Puzzy was invariably the star of the show.

But there was a lot more to the man than the magic of his feet.  He was a principled individual who stood his ground when somebody was wronged.

When a Muslim friend was denied acceptance under the ugly “undesirables” clause of the union, Puzzy, along with other players at Ridgeville, forfeited their matches and copped heavy fines until the rule was scrapped.

Goerie Stuurman

As strong as a tank

ONCE upon a time, in Norway Street, Maitland, there was a player, a left-sided midfielder, with a reputation for bulldozing his way past and through opposing defenders – like a tank.

His name was Bartholomeus Stuurman, and in parts of Maitland near his home, both friend and foe knew him as ‘Goerie’, or ‘Goera’.

When his career took off, he became the stuff of football folklore.
And yet, in a recent interview he admitted: ‘The beautiful game was not my first love.’ Neither, for that matter, was it his second love.
Like all other boys of his age, he played street football.

But in Norway Street, where he spent his entire childhood and young adult life, Stuurman was known as the boy who wanted to box

‘I wanted to be a boxing champion,’ he says.

 ‘And I wanted to learn sign language.

He quickly became adept at communicating with the hearing impaired. It was a skill he valued, but it was also a skill that he was keen to share with his friends.

It gave him great pleasure to see his friends having conversations with the deaf. He felt, correctly, that it broke down barriers – and broadened the circle of friends in the neighbourhood.

In Norway Street, football matches were contested with balls of any size or type. ‘We even soaked tennis balls in paraffin to increase their size,’ he says.

Stuurman says he was encouraged by his brother, Fanie, to switch from boxing to football. ‘I held Fanie in high esteem, having always regarded him as my mentor,’

But, if truth be told, it was not a hard decision to make.

A passion for football was already growing by then, and his love for the game intensified when a football club, appropriately named ‘Norway Parks’, was established in the house in which he lived.

At the age of 16, he had become a regular in the Norway Parks Under-18 side.

Fearless, menacing, strong – and with excellent natural skills, Stuurman did not take long to force his way into the club’s second team.

He was involved in some epic matches – especially against arch-rivals Saxon Rovers, who often assigned two players – Danny page and Kalla Blaauw – to try to man-mark him, but with little success.

His biggest highlight, he says, was being a member of the Norways Parks side that won the Maggot Trophy in 1960 and playing provincial football from the age of 21.

Bobby Proctor

A sportsman with a magic touch

IF GREATNESS in a football team is measured by the looks of awe on the faces of the older generation of fans when discussing professional football in the late 1950s and early 1960s, then Cape Ramblers must have been very special indeed.

And when reminiscing about the stars of that side, the name, Bobby Proctor, is mentioned as often as a mouthwatering lineup of other stars – Wally Boonzaaier, Vince Belgiums, Coenie Stuurman, Ivan Dagnin, Challa Links etc.

And although Ramblers, launched to great fanfare in 1958, was a team that shone brightly, but far too briefly, many older fans still rate them as Cape Town’s greatest ever professional team, greater even than the Cape Town Spurs side, managed by Don Richards in the late-1970s and early 1980s.

And yet, as far as footballers go, Proctor began playing the beautiful game at club level at a relatively mature age.

‘I was 15, when I joined my first club – St Lukes. Later, I moved to Glenville,’ he says.

By then, his talents had been noticed – and he was called up the Alliance FA selectors into their board team.

On a bigger stage, it was inevitable that bigger things were in the offing for him – even apartheid would deny him the ultimate honour of playing for his country.

Next best, and under the circumstances, an excellent alternative, was football in the professional ranks….

‘In 1961, I was signed by Cape Ramblers, with whom I stayed until 1963. I then returned to the amateur game, playing board football for the Western Province FA,’ he says.

And then injury struck – and Proctor was forced to quit football. But he quickly proved that there was sporting life after the game he loved.

A switch of codes followed. He joined the Belmont Hockey Club, and it was if he had been playing the game all his life. His natural talent saw him being selected for representative games for the Western Province Union.

During his stint in hockey, he began a new chapter in his life: administration. ‘I served the union as its secretary for seven years, he says.

The next game he excelled in was darts, in the non-racial Western Province Darts Union. Here, he also did his bit on the administrative side of the game, serving the union as its match and registration secretary, and as a delegate to the Western Province Council on Sport (Wepcos).

In 1988, he started playing bowls, and was president of the Victoria Bowling Club for five years.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, and Proctor says: I retired from all sport, including administration, in 2012, at the age of 75.’

Cecil Blows

There never ever was an athlete quite like him

Cecil Blows was a phenomenal sprinter who showed all-comers a clean pair of heels over the two short distances. He was also a long-jump winner and a mean hockey player to boot.

Cecil was the national sprint champion over the two short distances on eight occasions in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

In the late Sixties when rising star Kenny Roman started testing him, Blows could still put on the after-burners and leave him in his wake.

Blows first came to prominence in 1958 when, as a 17-year-old, he beat Willie Pick, one of the hot favourites for the sprint title in an Andrewena Cup meet at Green Point Track.

It was the beginning of an athletic career that lasted into the Seventies and even though white South Africa tried to entice him into a match-up with their sprint stars, Blows stuck to his principles and rejected racist sport.

He also had a long stint with the Mocambo Hockey Club which he joined in 1962. Blows was also a qualified teacher.  He started teaching at Wittebome in 1962 and is still educating and mentoring the stars of tomorrow to this day.

Cecil Lategan’s

Name is synonymous with ‘persies’

YOU don’t have to be an international or a provincial player to become a rugby hero. In parts of South Africa, there are players and administrators who will always be remembered and acknowledged for helping to keep the game alive during the worst years of apartheid – and, strangely enough, afterwards.

One such person is Cecil Lategan, a longtime Crawford resident and a six-decade stalwart of the City Park-based Perseverance Rugby Club.

Earlier this year, Persies celebrated its 130th anniversary and Lategan, a member for 61 years, was encouraged to catch his breath for just a moment to consider the good and the hard times of a lifetime in the service of the oval-ball game.

In some ways, the story of Persies’ journey in local rugby echoes the lyrics of the Tremeloes’ 1967 hit song, Even the Bad Times are Good.

If turning bad into good is an ideal of a community rugby club, then Persies has done very well.

“When the Group Areas Act saw people being shunted to the Cape Flats, our numbers dwindled,” Lategan says. “But the club has always had the ability and the attitude to square up to its crises, and to seek ways to turn its misfortunes around.

“Club stalwarts such as Patrick “Boots” Wyngaard began eyeing other areas to rekindle growth. Boots and a few others looked to Hanover Park to boost our junior membership, starting teams in the under-35kg, 55kg and 75kg divisions.”

But Hanover Park is a poor area and economic problems weighed heavily on attempts to expand the junior divisions. “The growth of gangsterism also became a problem, resulting in numbers dropping yet again”, Lategan says. “It was then that former players such as Trevor Mitchell and Llewellyn Hardenberg said, ‘we’ve had our glory days with the club. It’s time to give back.”

“Thanks to their efforts, Perseverance has survived. But some intervention was necessary. With our membership and other clubs dropping to two or three teams, the WP Rugby Union started a special section for clubs such as ours, enabling us to put the emphasis on social rugby.”

Lategan’s stint in administration began in the early 1960s, when he became assistant secretary of the club. “The prevalent attitude was, ‘you can write a bit, so you can help with the secretarial duties”. I worked with Cyril Roebeck, one of the great rugby secretaries of that time. After serving as secretary for 15 years, I took over as chairman in 1978, serving in this capacity for about 20 years, before becoming president. I am now a trustee of the club.”

As a young administrator, Lategan says he was inspired by great officials such as Benny Groepes, JB Page, AB Appel, at City and Suburban, and Dullah Abbas at Saru. “Later, officials such as Patty Kuhn and Herman Abrahams picked up the baton and followed the example set by their predecessors.”

Clive Thomas

No douting this thomas’s qualities as one of our finest no 8s

IN THE 1970s, one of non-racial rugby’s greatest coaches, Millin Petersen, rated Clive Thomas, a backrower from the Tygerberg Union as one of South Africa’s greatest No 8s.

The admiration – of one for the other – was mutual.

“The late Millin Petersen was up there with the best,” Thomas said many years later, while reflecting on his own playing career, which was short but impactful at the highest level, but which gave enormous pleasure to all who supported the non-racial cause, and who admired skilful rugby.

“Millin was tremendously knowledgeable. In fact, let me put it this way: he ate up knowledge. He read profusely about the game, but he did not only gain his knowledge from books. He also contacted and shared ideas with some of the best overseas coaches of that time.

“He, together with Attie Booysen, another Tygerberg coach, and the father of Donkie Booysen [who went on to make his mark in other areas of society] were my biggest inspirations at senior rugby level.”

It was almost inevitable that Thomas would play rugby . . .“I was born in the tiny rural town of Bredasdorp,” he said, “and in our community, the only avenue open to the sports-minded was rugby.”

Encouraged by his father, Conrad, he began playing at primary school. Then, when he went to Harold Cressy High School in Cape Town to continue his education, he was encouraged by another inspirational figure in his life, Yusuf Jakoet, to try out for the scrumhalf position.

He made the spot his own before shifting to No 8 later in his school career, and quickly began making a name for himself against opposition such as Trafalgar, Roggebaai and Oaklands High.

Club rugby was his next step up – and it began at City Park, while he was still at high school. “While at Cressy, I boarded with my uncle, Ronnie Davids, a stalwart with the Universals club,” he said.

“I was roped in to play for them, but they were not very good, and their results were poor, mainly because they struggled to fill their teams. Being young, I found myself having to play two and, sometimes, three games on a Saturday.”

Things improved when Meltons, an Elsies River-based club, broke away from the Federation-affiliated WP Rugby League and linked up with Universals at City and Suburban, he said. “They had some good players, and I liked their attitude and style of playing,” Thomas said. “When they returned to Elsies River to help form the Tygerberg Union, I decided to go with them,” he said. It was here that he met Petersen.

The lack of facilities was a major problem in those days. Because the Tygerberg Union was part of the Sacos-affiliated SA Rugby Union, the white authorities openly favoured clubs that were part of the WP Rugby League.

“But we survived – and thrived. Our top players got better and better under the guidance of Millin and Attie Booysen,” Thomas said. “With skills and fitness our bywords, we played some of the best attacking rugby in the SA Cup competition.”

Connie Boltman

The speedster from Steurhof

FROM the long list of heroes in South Peninsula High School’s athletics hall of fame, a speedster named Connie Boltman (now Blaauw) was, perhaps, the greatest.

Although not the tallest of athletes, she was blessed with a blistering turn of speed that saw her beat off the challenges of all-comers at WP Senior Schools Sports Union level throughout her high school career.

Many people say the potentially great make their own luck – and then work on it. This is what Boltman did – as a Sub A (Grade 1 in today’s parlance) pupil at the St Luke’s Primary School, near her home in Steurhof.

‘I was watching older athletes doing high jump,’ she explains.

‘Having been taught to ask in order to receive, I asked Sidney Nefdt, the schools’ athletics coach, if I could also jump – and he agreed.

‘I easily cleared the (then) rope – and he became my greatest inspiration,’ she says.

‘It was through his encouragement that I was selected as an under-11 athlete in the WP team that took part in the first SA Primary Schools championship in Durban in 1965.

‘I won the high jump. I also began making my mark as a sprinter, and Mr Nefdt continued to show great interest, accompanying me to all WP championship meetings.’

Boltman’s achievements at primary schools’ level were phenomenal and they included the South Peninsula Schools Sports Union Victrix Ludorum for five years in a row. 

With SP within walking distance of her home, it became her choice of high school. ‘Athletics was the most popular sport at the school – and I was inspired by the interest shown by teachers and fellow pupils,’ she says.        

‘I always strove to do well.’

No one could match her at SP inter-house meetings, but what about at inter-schools’ level?

‘My greatest rival in the 100m was Marlene Johannes of Elsies River High,’ she says. I was so determined to beat her (and it was the first year they participated in the A section) that I broke the record that had stood for nine years.

Boltman was a member of provincial teams in 1968, in Durban; in 1970, in Johannesburg; and in 1972, in Cape Town, where she was named joint captain of the team (with John Hendricks).

More recently, she made her mark as a contemporary and aesthetic dancer, participating in two world gymnastradas (in Germany and Switzerland) and in the Gym For Life World Challenge in Cape Town in 2013, in which her team won a silver medal.

Conrad “Coenie” Stuurman

A ball wizard extraordinaire

The Stuurman family, of Maitland, was a production line of fantastic footballers.  Coenie, Fanie and Goerie, as Norway Parks players, were household names in the Cape in the ’60s.

It was Coenie, however, who really took it to another level.  At the age of 13 he was already playing in the under-18 team. At 18 he was in Norways’ first team and soon was called up to represent WPFA at union level.

In 1960, Coenie’s exceptional talent was recognised when he was signed for Cape Ramblers, the first professional club on the Cape Flats. He was 29 years old then.

He won countless trophies with Norway Parks and with Ramblers and he won the knockout trophy, setting up the winning goal in an epic final at Green Point Track.

There will always be a debate about who was the most talented and entertaining Stuurman.  All three could make defenders look stupid. But Coenie had that “something else”.

Legend goes that way back in the distant past Coenie had already perfected the “overhead bicycle kick” and parents were complaining that their children were breaking beds trying out the Coenie kick!

After Ramblers folded, he joined Glenville and finished his career back at Norway Parks.

The 87-year-old still takes a keen interest in the game today.

David Samaai

The David Samaai story is the making of a true legend

David Samaai was always going to be a tennis player. His father, also a tennis player, saw to that.

It is how a young David started and practised the game with his six brothers in their Paarl home backyard that bears retelling.

They fashioned a net from the string bags in which oranges were sold and their racquets were made of wood.

From little things big things grow. Young David went on to become a very good player, won the “coloured” championships for 21 years straight and then hit the brick wall of apartheid.

In 1946, the community raised enough money to send him overseas, enabling him to compete at Wimbledon and in the Swiss, French and German Opens.

David had opportunities to stay abroad but he came home because he wanted to impart the knowledge and expertise he had gained overseas on to the younger generation.

Today, at the age of 91, he is still a Paarl resident and still takes an active interest in the game. His achievements have been acknowledged with the Presidential Sport Award for life-time achievements in tennis and he captained South Africa at the International Veterans Championships.

David Isaacs

When hard work and dedication is rewarded

DAVID Isaacs’s journey into bodybuilding was sparked by an advertisement in an American comic book.

‘In the ad, Charles Atlas promised those who bought into his programme a “he-man’s” body in seven days,’ says Isaacs, adding: ‘These were words of inspiration for me.’

‘At the age of 18, I weighed only 50kg. But ten years later, when I competed in the Mr Universe competition in London, I had bulked up to 112kg.

‘It wasn’t easy. I trained with weights – six times a week, for three hours at a time. And supporting me every step of the way was my mother, my rock.

‘From Uniondale in the Little Karoo, she had come to Cape Town to char for white people and was determined I should have a better life.’

Once the bodybuilding bug bit, Isaacs hooked up with others who shared his love for the sport. ‘There were six of us, but only one set of weights,’ he remembers. ‘But we did not let that get us down. We weren’t allowed into white gyms – and there were no gyms for black people,’ he points out.

‘But, again, we refused to be discouraged. We trained in backyards, in the open air. Later, we started building sheds – “hokkies”, as they say in the townships – in our yards.’

‘We started a club, – Oakdale (after the oak trees of Newlands in which we all lived). And as our finances improved, we bought more weights and other essentials such as protein powders from an entrepreneur named Jack Lunz, who ran a small business selling bodybuilding supplies out of Barrack Street in Cape Town.’

According to Isaacs, Oakdale became the top bodybuilding club in Cape Town – and one of the best in the country.

In 1966, Isaacs competed in the Mr Universe competition, with 130 competitors from 30 countries. The competition consisted of four divisions – tall, medium, short and professional. He competed in the ‘tall men’ section, with the likes of future actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. ‘I did very well,’ he says.

Later, he completed in the 1969 edition of Mr Universe, as well as in Mr World and Mr International competitions.

A firm believer in ‘paying forward’, Isaacs is involved in training more than 150 aspirant bodybuilders at a gym in the old Hewat Training college in Crawford. Training takes place from Mondays to Fridays, and the boys come from all over.

‘It is my contribution to society,’ says Isaacs, who makes the journey to the gym every day by bus from his home in Heideveld.

Doreen Slingers

A multi-tasker of exceptional skills

If anyone were to be asked what made school sports run smoothly when it did back in the day, the answer would invariably be ‘it was down to the dedication of a few committed individuals’.

One such person was Doreen Slingers. She was a top sports administrator who saw to it that things got done, particularly in schools sports.

She was one of the driving forces in schools’ athletics, netball and aquatics for decades.

But, first and foremost, Doreen Slingers was an educator.  She dedicated her working life to seeing that young learners were taught the basics, which would stand them in good stead later in life.

She retired from the profession as principal at Cypress Primary School in 2004 but came out of retirement in 2006 to be acting principal at Regina Coeli Primary School and then acting principal from 2007-2010 at the Western Cape Sport School.

But the time she finally called it quits, Doreen Slingers had a list of achievements that could fill a book.

As part of the Western Province Primary School Board, she was the netball convener for 20 years, its treasurer for 17 years until its dissolution in 1994, an athletics coach, a qualified athletics official,  (including chief recorder and scorer), and a qualified aquatics official.

She was the Netball Schools chairperson for 20 years and athletics manageress at provincial level as well as being the chef de mission for the multi-coded WP team in 2012.

At the national level, Doreen Slingers was prominent in a number of roles.  She was the national coordinator for the SA Primary Schools Association, the manageress for SAPSSA manageress, the SA Schools netball secretary and deputy president, as well as drafting a netball coaching manual for SAPSSA that was circulated throughout the country.

Doreen Slingers also had a number of leading roles on the international front.

She was the chef de mission for the multi-coded tournament organised by the Confederation of Schools Sports Associations in Southern Africa.  She conducted a netball coaching course in Namibia and was manager of the under-16 netball national team to Zimbabwe.

She travelled further afield as chef de mission of the under-18 schools netball tour to S-E Asia and nominated as chef de mission for the under-18 netball tours to Portugal and Singapore.

She also headed the delegation of the SA under-19 netball team to the United Kingdom.

Doreen Solomons

A qualified legend of the game in every respect

If anyone were to be asked what made school sports run smoothly when it did back in the day, the answer would invariably be ‘it was down to the dedication of a few committed individuals’.

When Doreen Solomons decided to involve herself in something,  she made sure she threw her all in to it to get the best out of it for herself and the community – young girls in particular.

The Gauteng-born educator and sportswoman resolved to equip herself with all the right qualifications when she chose a career in teaching.  She qualified at Rand College of Education in the early ’70s and taught at primary and high schools before becoming a lecturer at Rand College of Education where she started the first Specialisation in Physical Education course for women.

She was then appointed as Inspector of Physical Education (Girls) in 1976 in Cape Town. Solomons also completed several certificates in South Africa and abroad, obtaining diplomas and a BA degree and post-graduate qualifications in Education with Educational Psychology as a major. 

During her tenure as a teacher and an academic, a desire grew to promote the building blocks in sport and dance, especially among the girls. Solomons believed girls were lost to competitive sport in big numbers when they entered high school. She understood this clearly as she herself was involved in playing hockey, softball, tennis and certain athletic events.

She  was founder of the Lavinians Hockey Club in Boksburg and co-founder of the Mohicans Hockey Club in Cape Town.

She travelled extensively, both locally and overseas to broaden her field of expertise. Solomons was a member of the International Association of Physical Education And Sport For Girls And Woman, the Western Cape Movement Association and the SA Gymnastics Association. She used her involvement and participation in the structures of the organisations to plough back her expertise into developing the youth at schools and associations that she spearheaded during her active working life.

She served as  the vice-president of the International Association of Physical Education and Sport when she retired from the executive in 2009. In 2009, Doreen received the Honorary Lifetime Award at the IASPEGW Congress held at the University of Stellenbosch. At Barry University in Florida in 2017, she also received an award with six other nominees for enhancing the development of physical education, sport and dance in South Africa.

She piloted a book, Be A Champion In Life, on Olympism in the school program for the Foundation of Olympic and Sport Education that she directed with five schools in the Western Cape. The findings were presented in Greece.

She started the Western Cape Movement Education Association dance program in 1982 and coached 16 teachers. She also received several sport awards for development of general gymnastics, schools gymnastics, and women in sport from NSC (WC), SAGF, and Shoprite Checkers’ Women in Sport nominee.  She headed USSASA Gymnastics since its inception for the first three years.

Edmund Lewis

‘the finest sprinter in the country’

TWO athletes named Lewis … one an American, the other a South African. Both were black. Both were sprinters. Both were undeniably good. And that’s where the similarities ended….

In 1984, the American, Carl Lewis, won four golds and a silver at the Los Angeles Olympics. In the same year, the South African, Edmund Lewis, raced to victory in the 200m at the SA Amateur Athletics Board (SAAAB) championships at the Vygieskraal Stadium. The year before, in Durban, he had won both the 100m and 200m events in the SAAAB championships.

But there was to be no Olympics glory for him. No testing himself against the best in the world. His problem was that the country’s whites-only government did not regard him as worthy of representing the country of his birth. The Olympics Brotherhood, in turn, refused to allow a country that refused to treat all its citizens as equals to compe

te against other nations of all colours and creeds.

So, all Edmund Lewis could do after each victory in South Africa was wonder … about what might have been.

Lewis had just one ‘blemish’ on a phenomenal career.

At primary schools’ level, he had never been able to beat Terrence Smith, a sprinter from Heathfield High, whom many described as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ athlete. But Smith’s sprinting career ended almost as soon as left school for university.

And from then on, there was just one king, Lewis, who easily swatted away the challenges of a host of pretenders.

Out of school, school, Lewis won the SAAAB junior men’s sprint double when the championships were held in his hometown, Paarl, with his victory in the short sprint coming in a record 10.8 seconds.

The following year, he shattered the 200m record in Durban. And when the championships returned to Paarl in 1976, he smashed the 100m record, winning in 10.5 seconds. He also won the 200m in 21.6 seconds to complete a fine sprint double (which persuaded the former champion, Ismail Collier, to retire).

With this victory came the belated accolades: Lewis, said those who knew a thing or two about sprinting was on par with greats such as Gareth McLean, Collier and John Wippenaar. Another Great, Mohammed Paleker of Belgravia High and Spartans, a top sprinter of the 1970s, believed he was even better than the others.

‘Edmund was the best at the time,’ he said. ‘There were others, but he was the best. He was excellent.’

In 1980, the Cape Herald newspaper described Lewis as the ‘finest sprinter in the country’.

Fagmie Solomons

Fluffy, the great

THE way Fagmie Solomons tells it, in the family home in Dorp Street, Bo-Kaap, there were two special rooms – a music room and a ball room … and they were meant to be sanctuaries of temptation.

‘My mother loved music,’ he says. ‘Her brother, Yusuf Allie, a flamenco guitarist played with the Greek singer, Nana Mouskouri, for many years, and also co-wrote a song, ‘Before’ (with Frank Kinsella) for another Greek singer, Demis Roussos.

‘She wanted me and my brother to play in the music room.

‘But I was sports mad,’ he says.

‘From a young age, I lived for cricket, football and rugby,’ he says, adding that he had a flair for any ball game. ‘One day, an old toppie in the street gave me the name ‘Fluffy’ because no one could stop me.  He said I could slip through anything.

At the age of seven, in Sub A, Solomons went to watch his school, Schotsche Kloof Primary play a match.

‘When one of the Schotsche Kloof players did not turn up for the game, I begged the sports teacher, Juffrou Edwards, to put me in the team, even though pupils were only allowed to play from Standard One onwards.

She reluctantly said yes, and I had to turn my grey school pants inside out to transform it into a white shorts, but I was in the match – and we won.

‘The next day at assembly, she told the school what had happened – and said I was the best player on the field.’

Over the next few years, Solomons began excelling in two sports: rugby and cricket. But it could have been more: he was also an excellent table tennis player. When he was 10, he became a regular in the Ottomans Cricket Club’s Under-16 side. In rugby, at the age of 13, he captained a Western Province Primary Schools XV that played in a curtain raiser for an SA Cup match between Western Province and City and Suburban.

‘At high school I was 15, when I was selected for Western Province Under-19s to play in a tournament in Durban,’ he says.

At the same age he began playing first team in both rugby for Young Stars and cricket for Ottomans.

At 17, those who knew the game, predicted he was on the cusp of greatness when, at the instigation of their strongman president Noortjie Khan,the Green Point-based Western Province Rugby Union selected him as the scrumhalf understudy to the great Cassiem Jabaar.

And his rise to the top was as fast in cricket, captaining a provincial team containing star players such as Lefty Adams, Braima Isaacs and Rushdi Magiet.

Solomons, who captained the SA Rugby Union in four games, says his proudest achievement was leading WP in their centenary year in 1986, the year they won the SA Cup.

George Cottle

Top darts player -treble tops in fact

George Cottle was a “professional” darts player even before he knew it. He was earning good money off his playing skills while his peers were still simpply enjoying the “social” occasion of his sports.

How did he do it?  Simple really. He gambled on his expertise to beat opponents in challenge matches at the local pub.  His skill kept his pocket loaded and allowed him to pay for his dates with the young girls.

Today, 82-year-old George claims it was  money he earnt to take his mother to the movies.  Later on, his skill at darts also helped him feed his family. He would play at the pubs on weekends, Friday and all of  Saturday.

It pretty much set him on a very successful darts career that has led to him being treated as a legend in the code and a highly regarded administrator.

Initially it wasn’t all darts. As a young man, George Cottle loved other sports.  In his early teeens, he played rugby for Thistles and he also participated and enjoyed ballroom dancing.

The Cottle family moved to Paarl when George was 13 years old. Fortunately, the family moved back to Cape Town three years later, a move that proved fortuitous for George.

In his late teens he started getting serious about darts when he realised he was very good at it and could make money out of it.

He joined the Eagles Dart Club and played for them for 11 years from 1957-1968.

Every time he moved to a new house and area, he would play for a different dart club.

When he moved to Kensington, he played for Rio Dart Club. In Manenberg, he started his own club, the Cottledales” with his sons, Stephen and Greg, and nephew Greg Ladegourdie.

They later formed the Apex Darts Club. It was a very successful venture, and according to George, many aspiring young darts players wanted to play for Apex.

George Cottle went on to represent South Africa at the World Masters in London in 1975 and 1976. He also won the South African masters in Kimberley for two consecutive years.

He managed the Proteas in 1999 when the World Cup was held in South Africa, and in 2001 when it was held in Malaysia. In 2002, George retired from darts because the travelling was too much.

Gerry Gooding

The short and the long of a wonderful sporting character

George Cottle was a “professional” darts player even before he knew it. He was earning good money off his playing skills while his peers were still simpply enjoying the “social” occasion of his sports.SUPPORTERS and opponents of Gerry Gooding always highlight three things when discussing his life and times: his height, his mouth and his heart … but not necessarily in that order.

Although short in stature, he played his favourite sports – baseball for St Andrews Dodgers and rugby for Perseverance – as if he was 3m tall.

He was a ‘talker’ of note too – and on the baseball pitch, especially, he perfected the art of playing a great game with non-stop running commentary.

But off the field – and, sometimes, even on it, another side of Gooding consistently shone through: in word and deed, he showed he had a heart of gold.

And this was why he was always so well-loved – as a player, spectator and member of the broader community.

Perseverance Rugby Club stalwart Cecil Lategan, who has known Gooding for many years says: ‘Gerry, Graham Petersen [another of tonight’s awardees] and I once played in the same Persies side. I think we were in the third team, and Gerry was our centre. He was a fiery character, a Cheslin Kolbe type of player, who relished tackling opponents far bigger than himself.’

Lategan also saw the compassionate side of Gooding: ‘Back in the day, when Gerry worked for Plate Glass, he was one of the few coloured guys who had his own office. And it was in his capacity as a manager that he organised jobs for an unbelievable number of people.

‘When players who joined the club from rural areas needed jobs, we’d say: “Speak to Gerry.”

‘They did, and he’d come through for them. It was common knowledge that when Gerry made a promise, he’d keep it,’ says Lategan.

Of course, it was a baseballer that Gooding shone. He started his career in a game that many would say he was born for, as a 14-year-old, in 1952.

Even so, it was not a lights and rah-rah type of beginning. He started as a bat-boy. But not for long….

In the same year, he was registered a player, and quickly made the central outfield position his own. At 18, he was called up to the Western Province side for the first time – and thereafter pretty much became a fixture in the team, with his best years being between 1965 and 1972.

His fast pitching became an important part of the offensive armoury of the side.

Later, he switched to manager and coach, and served as an umpire for more than 20 years.

Graham Petersen

A great among rugby referees and baseball officials

IT IS apt that Graham Petersen should have been a member of a rugby club called Perseverance for more than 70 years (and counting).

For, throughout his career as a player, referee and administrator – and then as a baseball and softball official – he built his reputation on a foundation of dogged determination.

It is what made him so good at whatever he tried his hand at.

Born in 1936 in Mowbray, near Cape Town, Petersen joined Persies (which celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2019), at the age of 11.

In 1952, as a 16-year-old, he began playing senior rugby, for the club’s third team as a fullback. But at Athlone High, he shifted from the backline to the engine-room, representing the schools’ team as its Number 8.

He captained Persies’ second team for about 10 years and was also at the helm of the City and Suburban Union’s second team, twice leading them to victory in the SA Rugby Flag Trophy competition.

Petersen’s move into refereeing was gradual., beginning with club games at City and Suburban while continuing to play. But once he decided to concentrate fully on refereeing, he threw all his energies into his new career.

Demonstrating that hard work is usually rewarded, he rose rapidly up the ranks of the SACOS-affiliated SA Rugby Union (SARU). Soon, he was entrusted with some of SARU’s top provincial games, including two SA Cup finals.

Always willing to ‘give back’, Petersen mentored some of the national body’s top officials, including the late Eddie Hendricks (also of baseball fame), the late Ramon Poggenpoel and Sam Dube.

He served on the executive of both the WP Rugby Referees Association and the SARU Referee’s Committee (in the important position of examiner).

Like many other sports lovers of that time, Petersen had a sport for both seasons. His summer sport was baseball.

In 1956, he joined St Andrews Dodgers, where he played with many of the greats of yesteryear, including Gerry Gooding, Reggie and Norman Mitchell and Donnie Herman. In 1956, he founded the Ridgeville Softball Club with his late wife, Violet, and a few family friends.

Later, he served on the executive committee of the WP Baseball and Softball Union.

He was elected the first chair of the Western Cape Baseball and Softball Union, which was formed to facilitate inter-club matches between the local baseball and softball unions.

He is a life member of the WP Baseball and Softball Union. 

John Esau

Went from club to club but home was always magnolias

Soccer was John Esau’s first love and he could have conquered the world but, in the end, true love – his family and Factreton’s Magnolia’s – won out.

As a junior, he played for the Glenville amateurs and in the senior team he was the only amateur to make the side, playing alongside all the professionals who came from the defunct side.

When that folded he went to the club he supported in his home suburb of Factreton, Magnolias, and won the board trophy with them in 1969. He set something of a record in one match, scoring six goals.

He did have a stint with Cape Town Spurs under coach Don Richards but times were hard back then. He travelled to training from Factreton to Rosmead by public transport and it was one big hassle. It meant getting home after 11 at night.

He got married and stuck with his day job but soon linked with St Athens in Athlone for a while.

A move to Mitchell’s Plain saw him getting involved with the formation of the Mitchells Plain union and in his first year became manager of the Board side.

Family commitments necessitated going back to Kensington and Magnolias,  and he turned his hand to administration at WP Union.

Joyce Barendilla

Was destined to be a giant in a softball

When sport is in your DNA, there isn’t much you can do about it. So it was in the Barendilla family.

Whether it was the brothers Colin and Geoffrey, or the sisters Joyce, Carol, and Jean, they had a pedigree that saw them excel at whatever activity they engaged in.

For the sisters it happened to be softball and Joyce was keen as mustard when she was first introduced to the game at the age of 13 in 1945.

With her sisters and the Welsh sisters, an aunt and a few friends they formed the Yellow Jackets Softball Club, named after a bee in the US.

According to Joyce, they “lived, ate and slept softball”, practising seven days a week.  Their home ground was the Maitland Sportsfield where they dominated before moving to City Park to continue their reign.

Their playing was of such a high standard that other teams came to watch them play to learn from it.

Joyce attributes the success of Yellow Jackets to a lifestyle that was determined pretty much by the matriarch of the family, her mother Kitty.  The girls never drank, smoked or took drugs.

“We were just a healthy, vigorous and clean-living bunch of teenagers who grew up in a healthy and lovely environment in District 6,” Joyce said.

The making of the stuff of legends! Eighty-five-old Joyce is as active as ever.

Joyce Jonathan

A stalwart of hockey

THOSE whose paths have crossed that of Joyce Jonathan’s use words such as ‘determined’ , ‘dedicated’ and ‘highly principled’ to describe her.

But there’s another apt description for her services to women’s hockey – especially during the dark years of apartheid, when those wanting to play sport with dignity were always under threat: ‘hardworking’.

Some would say – and she would probably agree – that hockey and Jonathan were made for each other: she’s had a lifelong love for the game.

And yet, it was only at the age of 26 that she joined her first club – Wynberg Swifts.

Her rise to the highest levels of the game required hard work. After many club matches, she made her big breakthrough, selection to the Western Province side.  These were the days when provinces were, in fact, regions (mainly to keep costs down).

‘I made my provincial debut against Stellenbosch,’ she says. It was a ‘breakthrough’ game for her, and she says: ‘I’ll never forget the game. It was a memorable and special occasion.’

‘When I started playing, most of our matches were on fields in Mowbray, Athlone and in Cape Town.

‘Later, as Mitchells Plain and surrounding areas were developed, we also played there,’ she says.

A lot of effort was put into ‘taking the game to the people’, and a standout moment for Jonathan in a code that has always had to labour under the notion that it was a ‘Cinderella’ sport was a tournament against a representative side from Kimberley

‘We were the hosts, and all the matches were played at Athlone Stadium. I was thrilled to be a member of the team – and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience,’ she says

Her best moment of all though was being selected to be a hockey participant in the SACOS Games of 1982.

‘All the provinces participated, and, again, Athlone Stadium was the venue for the games,’ she says. ‘I regard these games as the highlight of my career.’

In the 1980s, the ongoing repression by the apartheid government resulted in many players leaving South Africa to start afresh in other countries. ‘But I decided to stay put on home soil,’ she says.

In her love affair with hockey, Jonathan moved from player to referee, and, lastly to treasurer.

‘Another big honour for me was being chosen to be the manageress of the Western Province side when the tournament was held in Port Elizabeth’, she says.

Jonathan stopped playing at around 50 years of age. She says she continued watching matches for a while, but these days chooses to watch sport on television.

Leslie van Breda

‘you see a need and just do what you can’

IN ATHLONE, in the neighbourhood in which he lives, Leslie van Breda is known as ‘Mr Dolphin’.

There is a simple reason for this. In the era of SACOS-inspired non-racial sport, Van Breda was a giant in the activities of the Dolphin Swimming Club, where, much of its in-, as well as out-of-water activities, were conducted from his home.

It is hard to think of many people anywhere who would have been prepared to spend several decades at a swimming pool, three or four hours a day, five evenings a week.

Van Breda’s commitment to teaching children how to swim, in addition to teaching young adults how to teach swimming was regarded as a gift by those whose lives he touched.

He taught both young and old to swim – and he coached competitive swimmers at both provincial and national level.

Particularly noteworthy, were his tireless efforts in conducting swimming clinics for those who wanted to teach the sport.

Van Breda was not afraid to step into unchartered waters. In the days when permits and pass laws held sway, he defied the apartheid authorities by taking his clinics to townships such as Langa and Gugulethu. He was never going to ask an apartheid functionary for permission for something as natural and essential as a swimming lesson.

His car was like the local ferry, taking many young swimmers to galas, at which he also ‘doubled’ as the ‘announcer’ at inter-club competitions.

Van Breda lived his life according to the Dolphin mantra of ‘Every swimmer a life saved. This was his focus. And this shaped his commitment.

Even today, he speaks openly of his involvement in swimming as something he ‘wanted and could do at the time. The way he sees it, this doesn’t need ‘acknowledgement or honouring’.

‘You see a need and you just do what you can!’ he says.

Van Breda played a key role in swimming administration, holding the positions of chairperson for the Dolphin’s club and treasurer of the Western Cape Swimming Association – from the late 1960s to around 1990.

He gave invaluable input to many discussions regarding the political nature of sport in the South African context.

Van Breda’s selfless contribution to the notion of ‘Every swimmer a life saved’ is often fondly remembered.

He offered others the opportunity to swim and ‘play sport for life’, his many supporters say.

Mavis Barnes

Battswood’s staunchest supporter

IF YOU’RE a Barnes, your loyalties are expected to lie with the William Herbert-based Battswood Football Club.

It’s as simple as that. It’s the way it has always been – well, until recently.

When her grandson, Jarred, joined Stephanians, the club nearest to where he lives – Mavis Barnes, the ‘Battswood forever’ grandmom, says she joked with him, saying ‘Your Pa Richard would have let you have it,’ if he was alive today.

‘We’re a Battswood family. My late husband and all his brothers played for Battswood. So when Vincent and Colin came along, and when they were ready to play, it had to be for Battswood.’

Naturally, Barnes’s ties with the club had always been strong, but over time, when she noticed that many of the junior players were running around unsupervised at practices, she decided to do something about it.

The result was an even closer involvement with the club.

‘I went to a meeting and raised the issue of supervision of junior practices, she says. ‘They need a coach, I told them.

“But who?” they asked. ‘Well, I was a junior tomboy when I was young, and I often played football in the road with the boys. I knew a lot about the game.

‘That’s when I said: ‘I’ll coach them.” And that’s what I did. I don’t think many people thought I could do it. But I quickly began whipping the boys into shape. I even had them practising penalties. “Ooh, Mrs Barnes, why must we do this?” they’d moan. But I asked: “What are you going to do if you get a penalty? You would need to score if you want to win the game.”

What Barnes did was more than simply coaching the boys. On match days she would arrive at William Herbert at 7 in the morning and start planning the matches for the day. I even filled out the team sheets. It’s a big job. I was determined to ensure that the boys had an enjoyable playing experience.

After many years of involvement with the club, Barnes was forced to cut her activities with the club after her ‘knees started giving in’.

‘These days I have to get around with a 4 x4,’ she jokes, referring to the metal walker she now has to use.

A few weeks ago she says she was in Wynberg Main Road when a woman asked her: ‘Mrs Barnes, when are you coming back to Battswood?’

‘It’s not going to happen.’ I replied. ‘I love football, but my health comes first’

Barnes says: ‘I’m still interested in the game – and I still ask how the first team is doing. Recently, I went to watch Jarred play for Stephanians against Battswood – and I enjoyed the match.’

Muriel Abrahams

The ultimate backroom organiser

MURIEL Abrahams did not play sport. Nor was she a sports administrator. But for 16 years she was a vital cog in the running of one of the biggest sports organisations in the country: the Western Province Senior Schools Sports Union.

She wasn’t a teacher either. ‘My work with the union started in 1981 when I successfully applied for a job with them as a clerk/administrator,’ she says.

They needed someone in their office to help lighten the workload of the convenors of the various codes. They had a massive workload and had to do all their sports administration after hours – for no extra pay.’

‘At least I was getting paid for my work.’

The union catered for the sporting needs of about 100 schools in codes ranging from athletics to baseball, from cricket to netball, and from football to rugby, and more.

A typical day in her life in the office of the union revolved around typing fixtures, distributing them and then contacting principals and teachers to ensure that they had received the correspondence.

‘My busiest time was during the inter-schools’ athletics meetings,’ she says

‘There were no computers when I started,’ she adds. ‘I used a typewriter, after which I ran off the correspondence and other documents on a Roneo machine. These could often be messy.

But hers was a job, says Abrahams, she would not have swapped for anything else. ‘There was always something different to do, and I especially liked communicating with teachers.

‘It also enabled me to view sport – certainly at schools’ level – from a unique angle. ‘One of my other duties was to organise transport for the big inter-schools’ meetings – and in my 16 years in this job, we never had an accident.

‘We were one big family. Officials such as the late Philip Tobias and the late Peter Meyer were unsung heroes. They did everything for the union voluntarily,’ she says.

‘You don’t see this type of commitment today. Teachers seem unable to organise sports in the various levels as they used. It’s a pity that the level of schools’ sports has dropped so appreciably.’

Abrahams says ‘things changed’ when the National Sports Congress replaced SACOS – and it was around this time that she decided to ‘get out’.

She still maintains a keen interest in sport but prefers watching it on TV. She says she will be watching the Rugby World Cup later this month, and she’ll be rooting for her favourite team, the All Blacks.

Norman Arendse

His life and times

OR all of his sporting career – as a player and as an administrator – Norman Arendse believed unwaveringly in the mantra of the South African Council on Sport (Sacos), of ‘no normal sport in an abnormal society’.

It was not surprising.

As a youngster, he had experienced the bitter taste of an abnormal society in the most fundamental of ways. ‘I grew up in Wynberg,’ he says, ‘on the wrong side of South Road. The consequence of the Group Areas Act on me, my family and other families in the vicinity were forced removals. In our case, we were forced to move to Belthorn Estate.’

From a sports perspective, Arendse began playing football at William Herbert prior to the uprooting of his family. ‘I played for Battswood,’ he says. Even at a young age, it was hard not to notice the influence the administrators of the Cape District Union had on how the game was played,’ he says.

‘They had some strong people, including the president of the union, William Herbert, and others such as Roy Wolhuter and Sylvia Jeptha.

‘After my family’s move to Belthorn, I came across more strong administrators when I moved to the Cape Union FA, among whom were Cecil Holmes, Red Damons and the Baartjies brothers, Vincent and Norman. It was, perhaps, inevitable that at some point Arendse would enter the world of sports administration. Not surprisingly, it started in football.

‘One day, when I was about 12, I was in a meeting in which the secretary didn’t turn up. The chairman turned to me and asked: “Can you write?”

‘I said: “Of course I can write. I’m already in Standard Six.”

“Well then,” he said, “you can take the minutes”.

The experience lit a spark, and he was still a teenager when he became secretary of Cape Union. ‘I was a player and an administrator,’ he says. It was a combination that continued until he was well into his fifties.

Arendse also served as president of the SAFA WP for many years. ‘Ironically, one of the biggest associations in this body is the Old Cape Town-Tygerberg , the former white union.

‘Today, they are the most racially mixed association. The threat of gangsters is a big problem in many of the township associations, he says.

As a cricket administrator, Arendse also followed a path travelled by giants. ‘Hassan Howa, Krish Muckerdhuj and Percy Sonn were huge influences in my life.’

As one of the people involved in cricket unity talks, he said the biggest mistake was the decision to allow SA’s immediate re-entry into international cricket. ‘There should have been repercussions for those who were responsible for isolating us in South Africa. This issue defined the split between Sacos and the National Sports Congress. We had a big fallout over the line the NSC took from the ANC,’ he says.

Norm Wilson

Gave his all to hockey – and the results are there

Norm Wilson thought rugby in winter and cricket in summer was the be-all and end-all of his sporting involvement.

Then his good friend, Dr Austin Daries, asked him to come have a look at a hockey. Next thing he knew, he had a stick in his hand and the rest is history.

The name Norm Wilson is now synonymous with hockey. Initially, he was with Mocambo but later switched to Blackburn when it started.  He was known as a dependable man in the left midfield.

In his last two years as a player, he earned provincial colours for WP.

When he called it quits in his 40s, he turned his hand to coaching and took Blackburn to the Champion of Champions trophy, beating Port Elizabeth’s Parkspurs in the final.

One of the things that gave him great pleasure was getting schoolchildren interested in hockey.  He formed a team at Belgravia High where he taught and challenged the boys of Harold Cressy where his friend Lionel Adrian taught. He is also proud of the fact the code he chose was instrumental in changing the lives of young players with many now getting bursaries to the top schools.

It also gives him a great deal of satisfaction seeing the achievements of some of the younger players he coached, in particular Marvin Bam who is now the director of coaching at Harvard University in the US.

Paddy Steenkamp

In the service of schools sports

IN THE all-conquering Alexander Sinton High School relay team of the late 1960s, Paddy Steenkamp was both a ‘consolidator’ and a ‘set-upper’….

His job, firstly, was to consolidate the lead created by the start-up runner, the incomparable Herman Gibbs; and then, together with the 3rd-leg runner, Richard Pretorius, he had to manage the conditions for the sprint to the tape by the lightning-fast ‘finisher’, Ivan Masters.

Steenkamp, running second leg, played his two-pronged role to perfection.

In many ways, he gave true meaning to the saying by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ – for, much of his most notable achievements were as a member of a team, in an unsung, yet vital, role

Speaking of Steenkamp’s role in this great team, Gibbs said: ‘Paddy was the quintessential team man. He did everything for the team – and did not hesitate to give credit where it was due.’

The fact that he did not start, or finish, said nothing about the dynamics of the team – certainly not as far as this team from Sinton was concerned.  The way they worked, planned, ran and won showed they never took their races for granted.

In addition to coach Dennis MacKay, Steenkamp also played a role in the planning of the relay races.

‘Paddy had great leadership qualities, he was a great listener, he was sincere, and he was a real people’s person,’ said Gibbs

Steenkamp’s track and field career started in the Under-9 division, where he participated in, and finished second, in an event known as the ‘standing broad jump’ for Thornton Road Primary School.

Later, he represented the Athlone and Districts Schools Sports Union as an Under-13, sharing the Victor Ludorum with the immensely talented (and future football great) Boebie Solomons.

He attended Alexander Sinton between 1965 and 1969, running the second leg of the school’s all-conquering relay team.

He won Western Province colours in 1966 and, to show that not all his time was taken up by sport, he was elected Sinton’s Head Boy in his Matric Year.

After qualifying as a teacher, he taught physical education at Sunnyside Primary School for 25 years, in which time the school never finished out of the Top 4.

He is currently the provincial physical education coordinator for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, where he is involved in a pilot programme to re-establish physical education in Schools.

Pedro Meyer

Smashed his way into the table tennis record books

Think non-racial table tennis in South Africa and the name Pedro Meyer jumps out at you. He strode the sport like a colossus for more than six decades, first as a player and then as a coach and then as an administrator.

In his playing career, he won every conceivable title available to him, the most notable being multiple national singles titles between 1963 and 1979; men’s doubles titles with Dennis Groenewald; and mixed doubles titles with Lola Jooste.

The 81-year-old started his career at the age of 10 with Stephanians Table Tennis Club and his name has become synonymous with club.

Pedro was appointed coach to the SA team which represented the country at the Commonwealth Games in Singapore and world championships in Kuala Lampur.

There is no doubting that Pedro Meyer has played a significantly influential part in the growth of the sport.  Out of the Pedro Meyer “stable” many junior provincial and national champions emerged.

Pedro devotes most of his time to coaching juniors and those who have passed through his hands are easily recognisable through their stance, determination, and aggressive play.

He would like to see more players involved in the administration of the game, especially the juniors who represent the future of the game he loves.

Every Saturday morning, Pedro can be found with his son, daughter and son-in-law conducting coaching clinics at the Blomvlei Community Centre.

Poenie Du Preez

Paid his dues in a number of sporting fields

Renee Poenie du Preez played soccer, managed soccer teams, played cricket, managed night clubs but he is probably best known for his time as a sports journalist.

For several years, he could be seen on the playing fields reporting on some of the other legends of the game.

He started his career as a player at the age of 17 with Burnley FC.  When that club folded, he linked with Glenville until he was recruited by the other Cape Town professional club, Mother City.

That didn’t last too long because the professional era was beset with  problems and Poenie found himself back at Glenville.

When his playing days came to an end, he turned his talents to coaching and was appointed to run the fortunes of the city’s premier professional team, Cape Town Spurs.

In his two years at Cape Town Spurs, the team won seven trophies. In the soccer off-season, he tried his hand at a bit of cricket and was a regular for the Oakdale Club at Rosmead.

Raygaana Bester

Sport thrives with top administrators like Raygaana Bester

Raygaana Bester is a sports legend every code would love to have.  Without her, there would be a whole lot less heroes who bring so much joy to our lives.

She is a sports administrator. She makes things happen, especially in the swimming pool.

She was a bit of an athlete in her day but was always more concerned with the lack of exposure and opportunity for children in the black communities.

Initially Raygaana organised athletic and netball programs at Chapel Street School   and then joined a swimming club in District 6 to teach children in the areas.

When she moved to Kensington in the ’80s, she started a swimming club focussing on creating a safe pool environment after too many fatalities.  Her water safety and awareness programs in schools are still being used today.

After unity, she worked with the national development program of Swim SA training instructors across the country.

It became a stepping stone for Raygaana to hold down senior positions in swimming: WP Swimming president from 1996-99 and then from 2015 again. She was also referees’ chairperson from 2001-08.

Raygaana was the team manager at international events in Greece, Rome, Sydney and Malaysia.

The honours for her work came thick and fast: Swim SA Lifetime Achiever Award; WP Meritorious Award and Life Member Award; WP President’s Star Award.

Reggie Keet

Was the wall that could not be breached

Hockey players of the Sixties who came up against Mocambo knew they could bedazzle the defence as much as they liked but the man in goal was the one who mattered.

That man was Reginald Keet, Reggie to friends and foe alike.  He was “the wall” at the back and the goalkeeper acknowledged as the best of his era.

It made Mocambo one of the dominant teams at the time. Sure, they had the likes of star players like Cecil Blows, Colin Barendilla, Richard Matthews, Reggie Bowers, Ronnie Kloppers, and John Lebethe in the team. But the man the opposition had to beat was Reggie Keet.

He started playing at the age of 15 in 1949 and went on to play at provincial level for Western Province.

Reggie was named Sportsman of The Year two years in a row.

He also excelled at soccer for Arcadian Football Club in Elsies River.

Roland Wagner

Ensured swimming talent pool had depth

Swimming instructor Roland Wagner knows what it is like to be thrown in at the deep end and keeping one’s head above water.

In his 36 years as a swim coach he has, times without number, found himself in situations where he has brought his expertise to bear to get out of tricky spots.

For instance, at the national championships, a Western Province girl was disqualified for a “dropped shoulder” in the backstroke event.  There was no replacement for her and the medley race was still to come.

No problem for Roland Wagner. During a break in the event he worked on her technique – and then they went out and won the medley!

On another occasion, at a senior schools event, a WP official told him of a problem in the tumbling technique.  Roland took 11 of the swimmers and worked through the process to correct their style. It worked perfectly.

He also devised a computer system to record results and times. This helped organisers seed swimmers in correct lanes in accordance with international rules.

He has now stepped back from coaching but his legacy among the new generation of swimmers lives on.

Rushdie Majiet

Was just a naturally “gifted” player

Rushdie Majiet was an imposing presence on the cricket oval. His opponents knew he could turn the match against them with both bat and ball.

He could keep the bowling tight – like when he sent down 44 overs for a paltry 33 runs and took three wickets to boot – or he could knock up a quick 50 to get the team out of trouble.

In 1972, he was player of the tournament at interprovincial level for both batting and bowling.

Rushdie was a late bloomer when it came to cricket. There was no such thing as working his way through the juniors because there was no organised junior or school cricket.

He joined Combine CC in ’68 (later changed to Primrose and in 1977 joined Cape and District Cricket Union.

His talent on the field did not go unnoticed and ended up playing in the UK’s Lancashire League.

When he came back he was told he could not simply walk back into the Board side – he had to play in a match to prove himself. He did prove himself. He took five wickets and scored 50 runs – but was still not selected to play.

His ultimate high though was when he was chosen in 199 to oversee the selection of the South African Proteas team.

Thelma Achilles

Is a ‘smooth operator’ behind the scenes

Battswood Softball Club owes Thelma Achilles a lot. The club openly acknowledges that the 72-year-old has given it “unconditional love” as a player and as an administrator.

“You may not see her in the forefront but behind the scenes, she excels, works continuously and not asking for anything in return. Thank you for your service Aunty T,” the club wrote on its Facebook page.

It’s not only Battswood that is indebted to her. The softball fraternity, as a whole, owes her big time.

For close to 50 years she has been giving her time and effort to the advancement of sport in the disadvantaged community.

She started out as a physical education teacher at Alicedale Primary and was soon setting up multi-code structures for softball, netball and athletics.

She is described as “the visionary” of youth softball.

Thelma served on the Exco of the school boards, chairperson of Battswood Softball Club and Cape District, president of SA Softball and served on the WP Softball Federation.

She is a Level 4 national umpire and managed two national teams to Canada and Japan.

Wilhelmina Joorst

A great softballer and a great administrator

A PLAYER, a strategist, a team builder and person of principle – Wilhelmina Joorst was all this, and more, in a softball career that began in the 1960s, and continued through some of the most difficult times for those wanting to play sport with dignity.

Thus, in 2014, when she was inducted into Baseball and Softball’s Hall of Fame, the overwhelming consensus was that it was a well-deserved honour – and if there had been such an avenue of recognition 30 years earlier, she would probably have won it then.

A roll-up-your-sleeves type of person, Joorst was constantly involved in issues of struggle, whether this revolved around a club battling to survive, a union struggling to stay relevant or communities striving to play sport with dignity.

And she always made a difference.

Her entry into softball began at Wynberg in difficult circumstances: the opening of the City Park sportsgrounds, and the decision by the WP Baseball and Softball Union to make these fields their headquarters, resulted in an exodus of clubs from Wynberg to Athlone.

In the mid-1960s, with only five clubs remaining at William Herbert, Joorst became involved with softball via the Lions Baseball and Softball Club.

Her love for the game and, most importantly, her vision for it, were key factors in its future growth and development.

She was one of a few who was able to appreciate how, sometimes, just subtle changes in management practices could grow a club, a union and even a national body. In this respect, she was a ‘game-changer’.

In her 15 years in administration (she held several positions), her hand was evident in many of softball’s best practices.

For instance, she developed a plan to rebuild and attract interest in the game by recruiting older members of clubs that were no longer operating to rekindle the game. This proved to be a great success. Another small, but significant change, revolved around her belief that clubs stood a better of growing if they were forced to run two teams.

Joorst was also active outside her home union and did much to promote the game at junior level in the Athlone Schools’ District, and at all levels in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Elsies River, Rylands, Gatesville and Cravenby.

A staunch supporter of the policies of SACOS, she worked energetically (with others) to ensure that apartheid softball was barred from international competition.

Her honours during the height of her prowess in the 1970s included an SA Sportswoman of the Year award.