The historical ills of Apartheid

A “little” reminder from our “glorious” past. The last sentence just killed me!

“Under pressure, the authorities permitted Sewgolum to play in the Natal Open in 1963 at the famous Durban Country Club, after having been satisfied that apartheid laws would not be broken. “Suitable arrangements” were made for Sewgolum to use a mini-van as a change room, and to have his meals with the black caddies. Sewgolum did the seemingly impossible and won the tournament, and to the eternal disgrace and shame of both the white golfing fraternity and government officials, Sewgolum was not allowed to enter the Durban country club to receive his prize.

A picture of a downcast Sewgolum standing in the rain being handed his trophy through an open window – while the rest of the golfers and officials were warmly ensconced in the clubhouse enjoying the post-game fare, outraged the world and gave impetus to the international movement to boycott apartheid sport.

For inadvertently putting the bigoted state policy under the international spotlight, Sewgolum became a target of official harassment and machination. When he again won the Natal Open two years later, apartheid apparatchiks were determined not to make any “concessions” thereafter, and explicitly thwarted his chance of representing his own country in golf.

Within a year of this victory, Sewgolum was banned by the South African government, and was not allowed to play in any tournaments or enter any golf course, not even as a spectator. Out of sheer malice the apartheid government withdrew his passport, thus closing off any possibility of competing internationally.

In 1970, he was specifically banned from the Natal Open. In the ensuing years, denied the right to play the game he loved, Sewgolum was said to be a broken man, struggling to survive and staring forlornly at his golf trophies. He died a pauper in 1978, at the relatively young age of 48.”

Published by Dr Charles Sinkala

I will go to the World, and when I come back, I will Liberate my people.

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