Saluting our local heroes this July

2019-07-18 06:00

This month of July going forward, I believe will be celebrated with mixed emotions.

Over the years the month has been dedicated to the international icon, the former President Rholihlahla Nelson Mandela.

The day of his birth, 18 July, had been dedicated internationally as Mandela Day, when many people do their bit to celebrate Madiba.

But this month has seen a number of well-known South Africans passing away.

These include the veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni, who was awarded the national Order of Ikhamanga in silver this year by President Cyril Ramaphosa, for her contribution in the arts.

Then there was James Small, former 1995 World Cup winner, whom we cannot forget as he and Chester Williams made sure that the then feared Jonah Lomu was kept in check throughout the game.

This resulted in the Springboks lifting that trophy for the first time in history!

Madiba himself was there to witness the victory and the euphoria it created around the country.

If there’s anything that gives the country a glimpse of unity, it has to be sport, as we have seen throughout the years!

Then this week we learnt about the callous, senseless murder of Marc Batchelor, the former Orlando Pirates striker who went on to win the CAF Champions League with the team back in 1995, a first for the country, and which was later emulated over 20 years by Mamelodi Sundowns.

He was gunned down while about to enter his house.

Batchelor, with his charateristic platinum hair, played for arguably all the big clubs in the country such as Kaizer Chiefs, Wits University and Moroka Swallows.

Then on Tuesday evening we also heard the sad news of the passing of Johnny Clegg, the man dubbed “The White Zulu”.

This is the man who was fluent in IsiZulu, showing everyone that if you want something, there’s nothing stopping you other than your attitude, from achieving your goal.

Batchelor and Clegg are examples of what this country can achieve if we all pull together in one direction and not focus on that which separates us.

These two men, fathers to their children and husbands to their wives, were not scared to associate themselves with the country’s men and women of all colours. This was when it was not fashionable to do so, one must also add.

They lived and breathed the same air!

For me, we need to bow our heads and salute these heroes of our nation, who have really made us see that, with the necessary will, this rainbow nation can work. Until we meet on the other side of the world, fellow countrymen and women, I salute!

Bon voyage.

Go well.

Nihambe kakuhle.

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