Karate giants honour SA legend

2017-08-30 06:02
Photo: suppliedSonny Pillay (centre) has earned a name as a South African karate legend.

Photo: suppliedSonny Pillay (centre) has earned a name as a South African karate legend.

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UP to the end of the early nineties, apartheid devastated almost all aspects of South African life.
For the oppressed, survival took first priority and it was unusual for anyone to take up sports such as karate, which were dominated by racially exclusive bodies.

However, Sonny Pillay, descendant of Indian slaves brought to work the sugar plantations, refused to give up his dream of becoming a karateka.
He defied the odds, rising from poverty not only to be awarded the coveted 8th Dan Karate Black Belt from no less than Japanese master, but also to eventually become the president of the nonracial organization Karate South Africa (KSA).
He was to eventually rub shoulders with Nelson Mandela, Professor
Fatima Meer, Ella Gandhi, Arch Bishop
Desmond Tutu, Ahmed Kathrada
and a host of other eminent personalities.

The absorbing story of Sonny’s chequered life is told in an engrossing biography, Reaching for the Mango written by leading South African author, playwright and former sports editor Ronnie Govender.
Govender himself a descendant of slaves, won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize besides numerous awards such as the Order of Ikhamangha, the nation’s highest arts award, two Life Time Achievement Awards and a honorary doctorate for his excellent contributions to the arts and the national liberation struggle.
- Supplied.


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