Stars pay tribute to Baby Jake Matlala

By admin
12 December 2013

Close to 500 people attended Baby Jake Matlala's memorial service at the Nasrec Arena in Johannesburg yesterday.

Matlala passed away on Saturday at a Johannesburg hospital following complications with pneumonia. Sports minister Fikile Mbalula was the keynote speaker and spoke fondly of the boxer. “The sport fraternity has lost the little Big Man who terrorised opponents in the ring. We are proud of the contribution Baby Jake made. To his wife, Ausi Mapula, and two sons, we are grateful for sharing Baby Jake with us.” Tributes continue to pour for the sporting icon Supersport presenter Carol Manana described Baby Jake a ‘little big man’ “because he was a small man but had a big heart and was always ready to take on big challenges. This was evident in the boxing ring and in his own life. In the boxing ring he won four world championships all in different weight categories. It was evident in his own life because he was a very humble man and he made an effort and was happy to give back to the community.”

Singer Danny K has said he is a boxing enthusiast and described Baby Jake to be very loving and loved helping people overcome their challenges. “Baby Jake Matlala was a small man who did big things, overcame many challenges.”

TV presenter Ed Jordan says he will never forget a boxing match he watched that took place at Carnival City. “He participated in a fight before the late Corrie Sanders was going to take to the ring. Baby Jake always had a smile on his face and had a ‘warm’ personality.” Ed says Baby Jake was a legend because he had this staying power and would always stick to what he was trying to achieve and not give up.

Supersport rugby presenter Elma Smit remembers stumbling on an interview on YouTube where Baby Jake went to a hospital to reach out to a boy who was in an accident. This showed how caring he was towards other people. Baby Jake could relate to people who were less well-known and less fortunate and always wanted to do anything to help them.

- Stuart Alexander

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