Celebrating legends of yesteryear!

By Maxwell Levine

In line with the celebration of Heritage Month, in which South Africans celebrate the heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of this country, we will celebrate, in a two-part series, a few fallen sporting legends that have grazed our sporting
fields with distinction.

  1. Des Ally (Motor Racing)
    Desmond Ally was more than a hero in motor racing. The darling of East London. He was the first non-white to participate in saloon car racing which was dominated by whites in 1963. He broke all segregation barriers by burning tyres on the racing circuit. His first race at the Roy Hesketh Racing Circuit in Pietermaritzburg where he beat the then SA Champion in a 1963 Mini Cooper S off the showroom floor. The SA
    champ of the time had a factory-prepared race saloon car while Des had a standard Alfa GTV. Desmond Ally is a legend of note and will never be forgotten on the racing circuits.
  2. Kaunda Ntunja (Rugby) Legendary Xhosa commentator Kaunda Ntunja will be forever remembered. The multi-award-winning rugby broadcaster changed the face of commentary. He recreated the Phaka show on SuperSport to be one of the most followed rugby
    shows. But besides his commentary he was an avid rugby player, including captaining the Junior Bok side. He was part of the Free State Cheetahs side that won the Currie Cup in 2005.
  3. Nkosana “Happy Boy” Mgxaji (Boxing) Born in Duncan Village in 1949, Nkosana Mgxaji started boxing at the age of 14, deriving the nickname “Happy Boy” from his older brother, Nzimeni Douglas Mgxaji. Happy Boy turned pro in 1968 under the stewardship of Mzoli Madyaka and
    remained unbeaten until 1971, when he lost a junior lightweight championship title to Anthony “Blue Jaguar” Morodi. Undeterred, Mgxaji came back to defeat Morodi in 1972 and again in 1973 in a series of grudge matches. Mgxaji went on to defeat a number of local and national boxers including Alfred Buqwana, Levy Madi, Terence “Ace” Makaluza, Ben Lekalake, Rolly Xipu and Norman “Pangaman” Sekgapane. He
    reached what many believe was the climax of his career when he lost a world championship fight to Sam Serrano in Cape Town. Happy Boy is certainly one of the best South African boxers who never won a world title and eventually retired with a record of 88 wins, nine losses, four draws and 26 knockouts.
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