newritings

February 27, 2010

Play it again, Sam

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 10:17 am

SAM the Man

I was very surprised, pleasantly I might add, when I heard that our former  International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sam Ramsamy calling for ” more action from South African sports administrators to fully integrate sport in the republic”.Ramsamy, a member of the IOC’s executive board, told Reuters : “My dream wasn’t only to see the soccer World Cup in South Africa. We also had the dream of staging the Olympic Games in South Africa,” Ramsamy said.

Ramsamy said although South African blacks had striven to reconcile with the minority white population: “I don’t know whether all whites have understood and accepted this magnanimity of forgiveness and acceptance. “We are trying to normalise the situation but I’m not sure all South African whites understand that. That is a concern of mine. Moves are being made to ensure equal opportunities for all but it’s coming very, very slowly.

“The white South African population is less than 20% of the whole South African population and we are doing very well. But can you imagine how well we would do if we provided the same opportunities for the other 80% of the population?

“We would have a tremendous super team which very few countries in the world could beat.”

I always believed that True Non Racial  Sport was compromised at the negotiations around CODESA (etc) to entice the largely white public, to buy-in to the New SA. So well done, comrade Sam, for coming around to what we still need to do.

Mr Ramsamy received the  Order of Ikhamanga in Silver from the presidency for what they say are the “EXCELLENT CONTRIBUTION TO THE BUILDING OF NON-RACIAL SPORT DURING APARTHEID AND CONTRIBUTING TO SPORTING DEVELOPMENT IN A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA”. This profile is taken from the government website.

Profile of Sam Ramsamy, was born on 27 January 1938 in a township called Magazine Barracks, a location for Indian municipal workers in the coastal city of Durban. His father  a trade unionist contributed to the political environment at home, and later he became a Physical Education teacher at a primary school. The presidency website points out that :” He was the founder member of the South African Council on Sport, established in 1973. In 1976, he became chairperson of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (Sanroc) and shortly after joined the organisation. By 1978, Ramsamy had become the executive
chairperson of Sanroc. The two sports organisations were united in their purpose of pursuing an international sports ban onSouth Africa’s athletes and by so doing, fostered greater global support for the resistance against apartheid.

Following the Soweto uprisings in 1976, Ramsamy petitioned countries to formalise a boycott of South African sports, which culminated
in the Gleneagles Agreement of 1977. Ramsamy, who up to this point was still employed as a teacher at a school in London,
left his employment in 1978 and became a consultant to the United Nations (UN).”

His core responsibility at the UN was to ensure the drafting of an international convention against apartheid sport that would make
for punitive measures to be placed against those countries who continued to engage South Africa in sporting activities. The convention
was finally drawn up and signed by various countries in 1985.

In 1980, the UN Special Committee against Apartheid initiated the Register of Sports Contacts with South Africa, which was designed
to report sports bodies that maintained ties with South Africa so as to face possible action. Ramsamy was an important informant and
provided information to those overseeing the register.

He took over running, managing and providing impetus to the sports boycott from the late 1970s onward. The sports boycott was
important in spreading awareness of the evils of apartheid to the rest of the world.

Ramsamy’s contribution to sport did not end with apartheid. During the transition to democracy, he encouraged international support
for the black sports body, the National Olympic Committee of South Africa, and became its head in 1991. He led the first non-racial
South African team to the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992.

He has spent most of his adult life fighting for the eradication of the colour bar in sport and towards creating unity in the sporting arena
where selection for teams is based on merit and where athletes of all races are given an equal chance to participate.

For his excellence in and dedication to the struggle for freedom through his work on the sports boycott, and for his continued efforts
in equalising the playing fields across all sporting activities, Sam Ramsamy has contributed to the birth of a new South Africa.

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February 25, 2010

Those who do violence against women, must be brought to justice

Filed under: Uncategorized — newritings @ 9:36 pm

Strong woman

Edith Nawakwi

We, the undersigned feminists and concerned South Africans, members of the ARE WOMEN HUMAN STUDY GROUP, wish to express our outrage at the recent public threats by MMD (Movement for Multi-Party Democracy) Youth Chairman Chris Chalwe to gang rape FDD [Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD)] leader Edith Nawakwi for criticising the leadership of Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda.

We have waited for a reasonable period to observe, and give the authorities in Zambia time to take action against the vile threats against women in leadership and women in general in the country, the sub-region and the continent as a whole. We regret to say, that our waiting for positive action has been in vain, and we feel obliged in the spirit of human solidarity to speak out against both the inaction, and the original threats to violence.
It is equally dismaying to hear that the only reaction of the ruling party has been to brush off the remark, saying that their colleague was expressing his own opinion.
Furthermore, the belief by Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde that anyone threatening to rape a woman is not committing an offence is unacceptable, and sets a dangerous legal and moral precedent.

We strongly recommend that the young leader and his party including the Inspector General study and  rediscover the international commitments their country has made to protect and promote the rights of women, in particular the African Protocol on the Rights of Women, which came into force in November 2005).  It is worth pointing out that Zambia was amongst the leading countries that ratified the protocol, which as of 26 February 2008 are twenty-three: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Comoros, Djibouti, The Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.

Thus, by so doing, the country and its leadership in government committed itself to fighting violence against women, which the Protocol defines as (Art.1.j) “all acts perpetrated against women which cause or could cause them physical, sexual, psychological, and economic harm, including the threat to take such acts; or to undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions  on or deprivation of fundamental freedoms in private or public life in peace  time and during situations of armed conflicts or of war.”

The Protocol, assures women’s right to dignity and protection from all forms of violence, particularly sexual and verbal violence. It unequivocally states that: “Every woman shall be entitled to respect for her life and the integrity and security of her person… All forms of exploitation, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”
Despite such progressive laws and protocols, the official response of the country’s senior police official to the threats indicates that women’s rights are violated with impunity, that political rape and punishment of women who hold different political views is acceptable. It is ironic that Ms. Nawakwi is threatened with rape for expressing an opinion but the Youth Mis-leader, Chalwe, is allowed to freely express his, effectively rendering her unable to fully participate in the political process on behalf of the party that she leads. If women are degraded and humiliated they are effectively prevented from entering the public sphere. Threats of rape soon become actualised and rampant and result in unthinkable atrocities as witnessed in Bosnia and Rwanda.
It is in this context that, despite welcoming the opening of an investigation by Zambian police spokesperson Boni Kapeso following Nawakwi’s complaint, we wish to remind the Zambian authorities that it is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to investigate instances of violence against women, including the threat of it, and the burden of ensuring justice must not lay on ONE woman’s shoulders. It is the citizens (in the nation state, and between nation states) that must hold elected leaders (including those within the government) accountable to the international commitments the country has signed up to.

The region is no better
We are cognisant that the region we inhabit is not better, and we vouch to speak out and organise wherever human rights abuses, in particular violence of women, are evident.

We have also recently read of Jestina Mukoko’s ordeal in Zimbabwe and the orgy of rape of the supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). (These statements came to the public light at the end of January 2010)
In our country, South Africa, the rape “epidemic” has reached levels that if not urgently and effectively addressed, may result in women being in practice not fully human. The violence of rape in words and deed, amongst other factors, serves to keep women in positions of vulnerability and weakness, something which African leaders must urgently address.
We commit to fight alongside others in our country, the sub-region, the continent and internationally until justice for all has been attained. Accordingly, we call on the Zambian authorities to urgently investigate the violence against women perpetrated by the youth leader. Secondly, we call on the South African authorities to bar entry into our country of Chalwe, should he decide to visit South Africa during 2010 FIFA World Cup or for other business, as he has violated the rights of women in his country, the continent and the world.
Ends

Ms. Julie Adam
Ms. Sakina Mohammed
2782938 5445
Ms. Marta garrich
Hassen Lorgat
27823626180

On behalf of the group

ARE Women Human Study Group is a feminist study group based in Johannesburg South Africa.

February 18, 2010

Viva CAF, Viva South African Soccer Federation, and UP the Bells…

Filed under: sports,testimonies — newritings @ 12:03 pm

At this historic time of the 2010 World Cup, pause a moment and remember all those who made it possible. The unsung heroes and heroines of the non-racial sports movement. Here we focus on football and mainly the Federation Professional League (FPL) of  the  South African Soccer Federation. At that time in our areas, organised football, was largely a male game. This is being  addressed, slowly, in SA and worldwide…

(This post has been updated, adding in some names of the non-racial football greats)

Viva CAF! Viva SASF and UP the Bells

Hassen Lorgat

Some of you may not know what the Fed was, but it was the Mainstay of non racial football, to take the name of one of its  longest “big” sponsors. They were truly the liberation fighters using the football and, sadly, now forgotten at our highest point of foot-balling excellence. The short term memories of some of our elites are staggering, as many of them seem to  have forgotten the mammoth contribution that Black players made in denying themselves the chance to play at the highest level of their game. Their tool? The total isolation of apartheid sports, and football was to be kicked about.

And during those years of gallant struggles, when days were dark and friends were few, Bluebells United FC stood up and was counted. We cramped the local stadium to watch local derbies between Bells and Swaraj and Bells and Dynamos, and in the process learnt about the politics of boycott and not collaboration with the enemy. Yes, the language was eerily cold war-ish. We spoke of players that “defected” to play with the racist leagues and we fought hard to isolate them personally,  and politically. Not all the tactics and strategies were conducive to building the non racialism we espoused but most of it was. The poets recognized it and so did some in FIFA although, as you will see in this essay, its leadership was part of the problem in getting a speedy and equitable solution to the sports problems of South Africa.

The bard of liberation Omar Mattera wrote To the Bells…

Ring out the challenge my valiant brothers

Ring out the cry of the oppressed and the down-trodden

You that must suffer for great and pure principles

The Bells, ringing against discrimination in sport

Tell the Whiteman you are his equal, if not better

The trumpets sounding in the distant

Light of invincibility, against the darkness of Apartheid,

So ring out the message loud and clear

Man was not born to live in fear

Ring Bells, and be proud of your heritage

Your name inscribed in Freedoms page

This poem was written after the non racial football movement fought to get playing fields in white ruled Johannesburg city council where its officials doubled up as members –if not agents of Apartheid supporting Football Association of South Africa (FASA).

FIFA in contrast to their bland history of SA football, written as part of the Countdown to the  2010 World Cup in South Afirica, which I will briefly reflect on below comment:

– Racial integration in football has always been a source of pride with the sport helping to break the apartheid barriers, albeit in a slow process. But the Inter Racial Soccer Board organised representative matches from 1946. In the Natal province, the Indian, African and Coloured FA’s competed for the Singh Trophy. In the old Transvaal province, it was the Rev. Sigamoney Trophy.

– The South African Soccer Federation, which led the campaign against segregated sport and received its first major boost in Paris in 1955 when the International Olympic Committee acknowledged and recorded that discrimination against “non-white” sportspeople in South Africa existed.

– In 1971, the National Professional Soccer League came into existence with Orlando Pirates crowned as the first national champions. Today the professional league has changed its name to the Premier Soccer League and there is still a sprinkling of clubs from the first league in 1971 playing in the top flight.

FIFA then fast forwards to the formation of the South African Football Association on 8 December 1991, which it says marks the “culmination of a long unity process that was to rid the sport in South Africa of all its past racial division.” Thereafter it goes on to give the miracle interpretation of reading South African history by providing this linear narrative of how SAFA attending CAF Congress and eventually winning SA re-entry into FIFA on June 1992.

The highpoint of the South African football winning the 1996 African Nations Cup

One has to go to another section on the Fifa site to get some version of our struggle against racist oppression and exploitation. In From apartheid to the World Cup – four decades in the sporting life of South Africa (written in 2004), at least they  talk of the suspension of the white football body, from FIFA, at the Tokyo Congress of the organization in 1964. They proudly point out that “FIFA were among the first international sporting organisations to take action against apartheid in sport policies and insist on the eradication of racist regulations.” It was only at the Montreal Congress in 1976 after the election of Brazilian Joao Havelange that the suspension was strengthened to expulsion as those who thought SA would change had lost their battle and racist SA was expelled from the organization. The FIFA comment is incisive as it clearly pointed out that, with the world pressure after mobilizations of the masses and the eventual killing of hundreds of youth in 1976, culminating in June 76, FIFA had no choice but to expel SA. The SASF gets this mention, when Fifa writes:

“The dispute over the country’s status within FIFA began as far back as 1952 when the affiliation of the whites-only Football Association of South Africa (FASA) was questioned by an inter-racial body of black, coloured (mixed race) and Indian associations, who had formed an alternative body to run soccer in South Africa at the time.

They were called the South African Soccer Federation (SASF) and repeatedly asked FIFA to recognise their existence and to grant them affiliation. At the same time, they consistently requested that FIFA terminate the affiliation of FASA because it practiced racial discrimination.

FASA refused to merge with the SASF, arguing it was against the laws and custom of the country to do so. Instead, they proposed the federation join as an affiliate without any voting rights. FIFA sought to try and engineer some unity in November, 1954 and following the failure of that bid set about the process of forcing South African football to end its racist policies.” (We will discuss these views later, suffice it to say that it is a lie. FIFA was  an obstacle to unity and I will show how football greats of the oppressed participated in the South African Soccer League, where greats like Dharam Mohan, Bernard Hartze, Rashid Khan, etc.  were destroyed by the control of the local authorities over sports facilities which in effect ostracized those that played within the values of freedom. Then the greats of SA football, Pirates , Moroka Swallows (Big xv) , Real Fighters and Blackpool could no longer play in the league – thus leaving the SASL only with affiliates from Durban, Pietermaritzburg and one  team from Cape town remaining in the professional league. Their struggles need to be  remembered.)

One thing is clear: that CAF (Confederation of African Football) was more principled than the world body and they booted FASA out of African football in 1960 – a body it helped to found, whilst the world body prevaricated for a few more years before the eventual expulsion.  Many oppressed people regarded Sir Stanley Rous, a conservative person and most importantly the FIFA president from 1961 to 1974, as an apologist for Apartheid and the SASF had been consistently at logger heads with him. It is widely recorded that Rous fought – in the face of African opposition (CAF) – for the readmittance of SA to FIFA in 1963. In their extraordinary meeting, CAF resolved to work for the total expulsion of FASA in the Tokyo world congress in 1964, because of the “damnable Apartheid policy” that the football association practiced. Despite the reluctance of FIFA to countenance expulsion of South African football from FIFA, the motion was put, thanks to the growing body of solidarity, amongst African, Asians and Soviet bloc countries, as well as the Arab nations. Globally the anti apartheid movement succeeded in expelling SA from the Olympic movement, putting pressure on FIFA very directly.

In its various correspondence to FIFA, SASF made it clear that they objected to Sir Stanley Rous collaboration with racist FASA and its key personalities. (It is worth noting that as soon as  FIFA expelled South Africa from the world body, the new body Football Council of South Africa chaired by reknown sellout  George Thabe, who ran the NPSL, was formed.)

A very informative article published in the Sports Historian No. 21 (1) by Marc Keech, THE TIES THAT BIND: SOUTH AFRICA AND SPORTS DIPLOMACY 1958-1963, details the treachery of FIFA boss Sir Stanley Rous when he backed white SA  over Black Africa. However, the campaign to isolate racist SA was gaining momentum but the internation sporting  institutions (and others too!) at that time were mostly controlled by European administrators and officials and in some cases under US hegemony. They had to power to undermine democratic decisions as we will  show.

When FIFA decided to first suspend white SA from its fold, Marc Keech shows that:

– its president Sir Rous did, his utmost to try to reinstate them.

– Sir Rous  listened to a suggestion which may sound stupid today , but which he  quietly sanctioned , to have a whites only team play in the 1966 World Cup in England

– to reinstate SA into world fooball,  Apartheid South Africa´s allies plotted that,at the Santiago Congress  of FIFA in 1962, to vote for the setting up of a  FIFA commission to investigate the problems of football in South Africa.   Sir Stanley Rous and Jimmy McGuire of the USA were to constitute the mission with the mandate “to ascertain whether FASA was in anyway responsible for (other) associations and clubs not becoming members of that association (FASA).”

Maggie and Stan

It is here that Keech brings about what is often ignored when he writes that “SASF attempted to challenge Rous’s membership of the committee. SASF most urgently request recusal of yourself from the proposed FIFA Commission on grounds that you are deeply committed, by statements from within FASA,, to lifting the suspension of FASA. Some examples of these statements include:

a) Mr. Fell (at the Annual General Meeting of FASA) stressing ‘he had no doubt that Sir Stanley would have the suspension lifted.’

b) that delegates at the AGM of FASA revealed to the press that FASA and Sir Stanley have been in correspondence with each other and that FASA has been advised by Sir Stanley on the lines and policies they must take to have the suspension lifted.

c) Sir Stanley Rous, probably the most powerful man in world soccer, is determined to keep South Africa in FIFA.

SASF suggests that if Sir Stanley insists on coming as commissioner our federation would have lost faith and confidence in the commission and that the confidence which the non-whites in this country have reposed in FIFA for their emancipation from racial oppression would have been shattered.”

When the so-called mission arrived to the country in January 1963, SASF officials were treated shabbily and were not allowed to prepare properly, whilst FASA were being treated as super favourites. Keech writes that it “was reported that Rous had said that no provision in the FIFA constitution required its members to apply the principle of multi-racialism: if South Africa applied segregation in soccer, that was its concern. He stated that ‘All we are interested in is to see the controlling body of soccer in this country furthering the cause of football to the best of its ability’.”

Despite the marginalization of SASF, they put up a good show at the Missions meeting pointing out in terms of the commissions terms of reference, that SASF “represented 46,000 players whereas FASA and its affiliates represented only 20,000. SASF asked the commission to recall that FIFA had previously criticised the way FASA ran football in the Republic. The letter to which they referred followed the previous commission some seven years earlier. It stated that FASA did not comprise and control all clubs and players in South Africa, and that FASA did not have the standing of a National Federation required to govern and develop football in accordance with the structure of the population.”

The African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa today, echoed these sentiments in their 1971 Report to the United Nations – as part of the campaign to isolate white South Africa in sports and culture. It repeats what is said above, but I quote in full to show that what the double dealing of FIFA leadership was well’ known. The ANC narrated the history of resistance thus: “By 1955 the non-racial South African Soccer Federation had made representations to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). It was pointed out that the non-racial body had more than twice the membership of the white body, the Football Association of South Africa (FASA). Because of the large number of friends of the all-white Association who held influence in FIFA, it was not until 1961 that FASA was first suspended. But this led to even more concerted efforts on the part of these friends to reinstate the offending member. The device chosen was to send a FIFA commission to investigate the situation in South Africa. Sir Stanley Rous of Britain, President of FIFA, and Mr. James McGuire of the United States constituted the mission. During their visit to South Africa in January 1963, the Johannesburg Star of January 9, 1963, reported Sir Stanley as having said that no provision in the FIFA constitution required its members to apply the principle of multi-racialism: if South Africa applied segregation in soccer that was its concern.

“All we are interested in is to see the controlling body of soccer in this country furthering the cause of football to the best of its ability.”

The commitment of Sir Stanley Rous to keeping FASA as a full member of FIFA, despite its colour-bar, was also evident in the lengthy correspondence between him and the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, which called for the exclusion of the racialist body from international football.

The report to FIFA recommended the reinstatement of the racial body and this was done in 1963. This decision met with widespread opposition in Afro-Asian countries with the result that the suspension was reimposed at the 1964 Tokyo congress of FIFA. In retaliation the South African Government imposed banning orders, including 12-hour-a-day house arrest, on Mr. George Singh of the non-racial Soccer Federation.

This brief account of developments in the field of soccer reveals a pattern of behaviour which was repeated in other battles to eliminate racialism from sport. In most cases the most important and senior officials of international bodies worked desperately to maintain the status quo and retain the all-white bodies as full members. The South African racialist organisations were, therefore, very well placed to receive high level advice about ways of retaining membership, as well as support for their position.”

I have quoted the ANC faithfully and  fully because it leaves me baffled why, with all this recorded history available and with non racial rule attained in South Africa, we choose to ignore those that did battle in the sportsfields?

I think that the partial reading of history in the earlier section could easily lead a casual reader to distort the contribution of thousands of sport people as it does not fully affirm those members of the Federation such as like Bluebells, Santos, Dynamos, Swaraj, Glanville, Manning Rangers, Verulum Suburbs, Cape Town Spurs, Maritzburg United, and many others that remain unsung and lost out at becoming Peles and Maradona’s. It does not recognize the fight led by SACOS and SANROC, by the likes of Hassan Howa, Frank Van der Horst, Colin Clarke, Morgan Naidoo, Sam Ramsammy, Dan Qeqe, Dan Thwala, Reg Feldman, Dennis Brutus, George Singh, MN Pather, Ashwin Trikamjee and many many more.

It would be good for FIFA to rewrite the history of SA football before the World Cup 2010  in South Africa to include the contribution of those that struggled to isolate racist South Africa, and not only glorify those INVICTUS movie moments. If FIFA’s files do not reflect these struggles, our files do, as do our minds and hearts. Players and supporters of non racial sport cry out for recognition and affirmation.

In 1974 to the tournament that Bluebells were holding, FIFA General Secretary  Dr Dr Helmut KÄSER (SUI) (period of GS of FIFA 1961-1981 – and himself  not always a friend of non racialism in sport too) wrote (3 may)  that “It is understood that the tournament is being staged to recoup the losses suffered as a result of promoting Professional Football in a no racial basis. This is highly commendable and we sincerely hope that the citizens of the Transvaal assist them in doing just that.

We are quite aware of the gallant fight with which these young men are putting up… FIFA greatly admires such young me who dedicate themselves for the sake of sport.”

KÄSER wrote that he hoped that the “splendid example” will inspire other soccer bodies to “follow this progressive and constructive step” which he hoped in the near future will lead to the “discarding any racial label, so that your doors are open to all South Africans, regardless of race, colour or creed.”

The year 1974 was also significant for other reasons – globally in sports as it marked the new era of non racial sport internationally, which unfortunately in later years with mass television of sports and the iniquitous globalization, and crass selling of players, exploiting of fans and accumulation of big bucks in sports -for a few. Havelange in replacing Rous in 1974, marked the end of European control of the game, (Rous was backed mainly by the European associations) as he was the first person from a developing country that took the highest office in football. History records that there was a record attendance at the at the Ordinary Congress in Frankfurt, prior to the 74 World Cup ,by poor countries and those who could not attend for various reasons including costs of travel etc. The voting (first round) Havelange obtained 62 votes, Rous 56, with a two-thirds majority (79 votes) being necessary to becoming president. In the second round Havelange got the necessary two –thirds when he polled 68:52, which made him president. Rous was elected a lifetime honorary president.

Without national media support, or should I say despite anti media coverage in the main – the movement led by the South African Council on Sports, SACOS (internally) and the South African Non Racial Olympic Committee  (SANROC) , (largely in exile) which was ,supported by liberation movement outside the country in particular the African National Congress SA was culturally  isolated.

Bells management and leadership too played a critical role. Vincent Govindarajinh Naidoo, a visionary and friends and critics agree a dreamer too, but for him Bells to become, like the FC Barcelona of today’, …mes que un club. More than a club. He fought to have professional football played in the then Transvaal and led the fight against the local authorities bringing in the likes of Selma Browde into our fold. It was with her assistance that non racial football eventually won access to the Lenasia stadium, to play the beautiful game without compromises to principles of human rights and equality.

He fought and continues to fight  the good fight, and set up even a Bluebells international. City Councillor and Dr Selma Browde writing in the 1974 brochure recognized Bells for being the “only club prepared to make sacrifices to take up the fight to revive non-racial professional football in the province. They suffered serious financial losses for the sake of the game.” She added that “if they had taken the simple way and ginen in to the sports policy of the City Council and toed the FASA line, they could have been much better off financially, but they held on courageously for the brand of soccer that only Federation is producing, and soccer has benefited. The proof that Federation can definitely provide top class soccer lies in the fact that every organization apart from the Africans now belong to the Federation.” (The fact is that most of the African players were playing in what was then called the racial leagues  in line with government policy. The weakness to get greater numbers of the players to to join the non racial fold was a great weakness to the struggle for nonracial sports.) History must record that Dave Marais and Viv Granger (with a little help from some within FIFA) were hell-bent on destroying SASL because of the non-racial campaign to isolate white football and to make it the official recognized football body of SA.  Terry Jeevanantham footballer and commentator on football, says that the “great A great Orlando Pirates team that included Rashid Khan , Ralph Hendricks , Bernard Hartze was dismantled because Bethuel Morolo wanted them out and have an Africans only league .

Dr Ram Saloojee, who was to become a prominent ANC, then using the platform of the Lenasia Management committee, speaks of the councils denial of the football grounds as being based on “ a denial basedon the false values of racial exclusion and colour prejudices” (Bells brochure 1974). He called on the public to support the courage of “our beleaurered sportsmen and to leand our moral and material strength to their desire to play the game, in the spirit of the loftiest traditions of the sporting code.”

The founder member of the South African Soccer Federation – Dan R Twala, wrote in the brochure of how politics of exclusion stopped “our boys “ from “donning the SPRINGBOK COLOURS for south Africa in the International Sporting fields vying for kudos and professional recognition with the PELES, and the EUSEBIOS OF world soccer fame.”

Ameen Akhalwaya – human rights activists and journalist loved Bells and spared no time and space to give them space in his Daily Mail and eventually when he founded his own paper, where he wrote about Bells nostalgically. Today the Lenz Times – founded by Waheed Camroodien remains a stalwart support of the Bells years and its attempted revival.

Jayprakash Zanof Ramdin (vice president ), Roland James, Rodney Moonsammy, Derek Moonsammy, Billy Morgan, yousuf Eshack,  Patrick Naiker, Silvyn Naidoo,NN Naidoo, G Saley, V Moodley, Bizza Naidoo, Vela “vandemaderam” Padiachee, Abu Mia, S Bhaga, AC Fakir, R Pillay, R Fakira and numerous others still to be acknowleged. (Please write in and fill in the blanks).

Players from the cradle of Bells heart – Lenz -we cannot forget are they likes of Terry Jeevanantham, Alan Moonsammy, Agmat Mohammad, Prega Thandrind, Ratin Padiachee, Louis Jeevanantham, Goona Padayatchi, farouk hassen, with old favourites from outside Lenz, Voes, Phil Mthimkulu, Doza, Trompies, Ralph Chame, Grooving Malope, Augustine makalakalane (now coach of banyana banyana, Big boy Kholoane, and others.

blue bells picBells and other FPL and SASF stars would not have shone if it was not for the worthy adversaries like Tobie Hatia (Dynamos), Ingel singh and Vincent tantie Julius (Sundowns); Deena Naidoo, Dougie Carelse . The talent from the Cape teams knew no end,  Gauteng export Rashid Khan, Boebie Williams, Boebie Solomons, Siraj Desai,  Neville Londt, Bernard dancing shoes Hartz (Capetown Spurs, Capetown united), Dudu moonsammy, Kola and Virgin Padiachee, and Shakes Mashaba (Swaraj), Kishore Kara, Burri Martin, and many many more. The stars before yesteryear, which was always a memory for young Fed Fans but we heard their names…Excellent Mthembu, Dharam Mohan, Sugar Singh, Cedric “Sugar Ray” Xulu  who were crowd pullers. Players of such skill and popularity must live today in the year of the African World Cup.

Administrators that fought for Bells and non racialism in this period include the likes of MN Pather, JN Bhoola, Hassen Howa,  RK Naidoo, and Ameen Akhalwaya, Butch Ralph Hendricks, Ivan Naidoo, DR Soma and many others.

Bluebells United Supporters Club during that time was led by A Fakir (chair) and Linda Moonsammy (secretary)  who campaigned under the slogan “UP The Bells” and to make the Lenasia stadium “the Mecca of Soccer”.

Conclusion

It would be fitting for these known and unknown hero’s of the struggle for normal sport in an normal society be acknowleged. We know our society with gnawing poverty and inequality is not equal and this is abnormal, but, the small victory of those who fought for human dignity in sports and culture – using it as a lever to change society is what the 2010 world cup is supposed to be. But is it?

If you remember those who played the good fight, please add their names and we will update them in the hall of non racial sports struggle fame – and as in this case those that played the beautiful game-ethically.

To check the South African History Timeline on soccer, read more.

(more…)

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