Sixty-one years ago in 1958, a local golfer, David Motati (on the far right in the attached picture), won a stroke play event at the non-white golf course in Bloemfontein. Motati, also known by his nickname ‘Bobby Locke’ (after a famous white South African golfer), famously went on to caddy for Gary Player in the subsequent whites-only SA Open according to the South African Golf Association’s website . Today, this event and player is totally forgotten and even less is known about the history of golf within South Africa’s black communities.
Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, had an early start in the old Orange Free State. According to the available evidence, the first recorded soccer or football games in Bloemfontein were played during 1876 between St. Andrews College and the Cathedral Choir. Beyond Bloemfontein, the game found an early foothold in towns like Heilbron, Kroonstad, Bethlehem, Lindley, and Jagersfontein during the 1880s and early 1890s. These developments were driven by merchants, railway workers, miners, and a range of other immigrants that made the Republic its home.
For over three centuries Robben Island, an offshore island within sight of the City of Cape Town, was used by successive governments as a penal settlement and isolation centre. Its detention centres served to safeguard the surrounding society. From the outset the island’s institutions followed a treatment regime that was harsh. During the apartheid years (1948 – 1994), it served as the primary place of detention for anti-apartheid activists who fought for the overthrow of the minority-ruled state.
With the recent passing of Miss Matlhaodi Rahab Kgomo, an important era in the history of Bloemfontein came to an end. In addition to being one of the last of her generation to have witnessed the visit of the British Royals to Bloemfontein in 1947, which in her case was sealed with a gift of a cup and saucer, Rahab Kgomo was one of the pioneers who contributed to the establishment and further development of a distinct tennis tradition within the black communities of the Free State in general and Greater Bloemfontein/Mangaung in particular. Another tennis legend from Kgomo’s era was the late Gobuiwang Junia [‘Zero’] Tlhobelo who passed away 10 years ago.