Home Opinion and Features Back when the Amakhosi came to our little town

Back when the Amakhosi came to our little town

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Before their official birth, the team saw fit to honour the Diamond City with an introductory match.

Kaizer Chiefs football club turned 50 last week, an event the much-decorated club has pledged it will celebrate throughout the year as it intends to take the festivities of its birth to many corners of our country.

I, like many others, cannot wait to bask in this moment of glory with the ‘Glamour Boys’ as they celebrate their achievements as one of the greatest football teams ever on the continent. I, of course, write here what I like.

Now, without stressing this point too finely, Kaizer Chiefs are one of a kind. It is a team of its time. Do you know that from its inception this team had an international outlook? I had just graduated in my teens when a man named Chaincha Guluva made waves in the country.

Radio Bantu, Motsweding FM as it was then named, feverishly broadcast every move the team made on and off the pitch. Before their official birth, the team saw fit to honour the Diamond City with an introductory match.

We in the kasi were by then not officially allowed to be bestowed with the honorific sports term ‘Griqua’, meaning broadly a representative sports team of the area. But the locals nonetheless went ahead and named any team fashioned in that manner a Griqua team.

So it came to pass that in 1971/72 Kaizer Motaung brought his band of football merrymakers to our doorstep. Two things are memorable for yours truly about that visit. My late father Jeremiah, Oom Jerry to many, made sure I accompanied him to the match. I am eternally grateful to my Dad for that favour. Peace be upon him.

Preparations for us started very early on that day for a match that was due to only happen at 3pm.

The second thing that stands out for me was that uncle Jimmy Bawa, whose house is a few doors away from ours, was playing in our Griqua XI against the visiting team from Johannesburg.

I remember this because the visiting Joburg team, unofficial as it was at the time, was already famous. It was all over the wireless that was in almost every home. The Joburg team bristled with household talent. Kaizer Motaung, Gerald Dlamini, Computer Lamola, Eliakim Pro Khumalo (father to Doctor) Ratha Mokgoatleng (now a judge of the high court) and the evergreen Ewert “The Lip” Nene, to name some.

Nene was as famous as the players on the PR side.

The club’s birth coincided with many major world events. Mohammed Ali, the world heavyweight boxer was king of the ring, the late Percy Sledge, an African American singer, The Beatles and Woodstock were all the rage. Every hip doll and dude had to be seen in the dress code that they had made popular in this part of the world.

The ‘wear’ of the time was basically a matching two-piece outfit which flared at the bottom. Coupled with a pair of high platform shoes rounded off with a bespoke Afro hairpiece and the obligatory two-fingered “Love and Peace” V-sign on any part of the garment or person. Plus there was some bling in the style of the peace movement of the day.

Importantly, Kaizer Motaung, who was among the few if not rarest black football personalities to have been to America, had come home from a stint over there with Atlanta Chiefs.

Upon Motaung’s return, legend has it that his old club Orlando Pirates was engulfed in a heated squabble over expelled players. Motaung by way of his intervention offered those players a way out of the jam via Kaizer XI FC.

In parting, Kaizer Chiefs, adopted the emblem of Atlanta Chiefs which is a visual representation of the indigenous Native American people as its own emblem, probably because he agreed with their struggle for their birth land.

Happy New Year, ya’ll.