The much-called for Sports Legends Hall of Fame will become reality on Monday when community-based organisation, Play Sport4Life, inducts 22 sportspeople into its portals.
In a deliberate acknowledgement to our past, PS4L chose Heritage Day to honour the sportspeople who were legends of their codes during the period when the South African Council on Sport (SACOS) guided our fortunes and destiny with regard to non-racialism in sport.
The first intake of inductees features legends from rugby, cricket, softball, table tennis, karate, soccer and tennis. The list included household names of the ’60s and ’70s such as soccer legend Puzzy Jansen, rugby giant Aslam Toefy, table tennis icon Pedro Meyer and softball star Joyce Barendilla.
The head of the PS4L, Miles October, will launch the initiative at the Kaleidoscope venue in Claremont with all inductees in attendance.
“It was important that we launch this on Heritage Day because nothing can be more significant than acknowledging the legacy these people will leave for future generations,” October said.
“It is absolutely essential that we get this thing off the ground and keep it going. We have to acknowledge the people who were role models in their sports and stuck to the non-racial principle in the most difficult of times.
“Each and everyone of the these stars faced challenges that came with living in an unjust society that denied them the opportunity to achieve their potential. Yet, given the opportunity, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind, that they would have been competitive on the world stage.
“One can only use the examples of Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk to see what can be achieved when our gifted sportspeople have access to more than just basic facilities.”
October said plans for the Induction event had been well under way for months, but recent events had brought it back into focus and more imperative that it be expedited.
“With the passing of rugby legend Saait Majiet a month or so ago and last week soccer legend Reggie Jantjies, the issue has been front and centre on social media. Majiet, and his brother Rushdie were both accomplished sportsmen in rugby and cricket and the world was their oyster — if they succumbed to being lured away from their non-racial principles.
“There is a fair amount of anger and disappointment in the community that people like the Majiets and Jantjies and others who have gone before them, are not recognised appropriately. At Play Sport4Life we, as a community-based organisation, feel an obligation to help redress this oversight,” October said.
“There are other organisations who are involved in establishing similar projects. We would be happy to collaborate with because we have experience in this regard. We were instrumental in setting up the Maitland Giants Hall of Fame four years ago and the PS4L Athletics Hall of Fame 2 years ago.
Contact: Miles October