Holiday cheer, stews and goodbyes – a truly South African festive season

S'Busiso Mseleku.
S'Busiso Mseleku.

Johannesburg - Ho! Ho! Ho! ’Tis the season to be merry!

This is the time of year when most South Africans go home to their families for the holidays.

In the black community, home is usually rural areas, where people go back to their roots.

Even in this day and age, when a black South African says, “I’m from Sandton”, eyebrows are raised in some quarters.

SA shuts down

If you want to know just how seriously South Africans take their festive season, ask the erstwhile Premier Soccer League (PSL) chief executive Trevor “The British Bulldog” Phillips.

For a few seasons after helping establish the PSL, the Briton tried to instil a culture of playing right through Christmas and New Year.

You see, in England some of the most important Premier League matches are played on Boxing Day – December 26.

Some dyed-in-the-wool English football fans even swear on their ancestors’ bones that the league title is actually decided over the Christmas week – especially on Boxing Day.

However, Phillips discovered very rudely that South Africa shuts down completely in December. He eventually succumbed and went back to letting clubs and his staff at the PSL take a break.

While we usually loosely use the term “Merry Christmas” around this time of the year – an assumption that people are all cheerful, in good spirits, light-hearted and carefree – I’m afraid there are some folks in the sporting fraternity who will have neither a merry Christmas nor a happy New Year.

This may well be the case for Thembelani Nxesi, the minister of sports and recreation, as he lost his spot in the ANC national executive committee during the elective conference a few days ago.

In fact, the future looks bleak for all SA Communist Party folks, who were snubbed at the gathering.

Committee members

Another individual who might choke on his igusha (mutton), which is abundant in the Eastern Cape around this time of year because of the manyimigidi (traditional gatherings) and other festivities, is SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee president Gideon Sam. He will be stewing over the pending investigation into alleged shenanigans within his organisation, which was ordered by Nxesi.

Despite two back-to-back victories, I doubt that the shiny head of Steve Komphela will be resting easily this merry season.

He has been walking the plank for far too long to rest and be able to fully enjoy a break.

With the SA Football Association elections having been brought forward to March, I doubt that those who have designs on any of the top positions on offer will have any real rest.

Those vying to be president, vice-president and executive committee members need to start campaigning right now.

I also pity football players who have to remain in control through binge season.

Most clubs weigh their players before they go on the break, and many of them have failed the scale test on their return in the past seasons.

There is always so much food and drinks during this period that the poor players, professional as they may be, sometimes succumb to the many temptations.


City Press bids farewell to one of its stalwarts, Pule Mokhine, who has been with the publication for more than three decades.

As he heads off to pasture, to play with his grandchildren and take a well-deserved rest, we wish him not only a Merry Christmas, but a good rest and many beautiful sunsets.

As they say in those Western cowboy movies that we used to reminisce about, starring the likes of John Wayne and Charles Bronson, “So long, Bra Pule".

Let me take this opportunity to say farewell by singing Leboko La Batlhalerwa:

Ke nna mapetekanyi wa ga mosetlha;

Bagale le ka molora nka ba fatlha;

Ke mathulwe yo o mokokotlo o thupa;

Ga ke latwe ke mosimane a sa rupa;

Ke motlhalerwa, ntswa ya naga.

Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku

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