Sam visits PMB in search of his clan

President of Sascoc Gideon Sam met some of his long-lost relatives in Pietermaritzburg this weekend.
President of Sascoc Gideon Sam met some of his long-lost relatives in Pietermaritzburg this weekend.
Kailene Pillay

SASCOC president Gideon Sam was in Pietermaritzburg this weekend in search of his paternal family, following months of tracking and tracing them.

Sam has been at the helm of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) for seven years, and is also well-known for his roles as the Springboks’ manager and Swimming SA president.

He said his search for his family began when his daughter, Lisa, embraced her sangoma calling and he soon found out he was a descendent of the well-known Makhathini family in KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking from a relative’s home in Lincoln Meade, Sam said he did not know his father and only recently started to find a few members of the family.

“With my daughter becoming a sangoma, she needed to know her ancestors and where we descended from. The missing link was my father’s family and the search brought me here to KZN,” he said.

His father, Mboshwa Makhathini, was a roving evangelist who, according to Sam’s research, had three wives.

Now, in his quest to help his daughter find her calling, Sam said his research is proving fruitful each day.

“It was pure luck and fate that I met a man from Pietermaritzburg during one of the sporting events recently. He was trying to get into the VIP section and we started talking. By the end of it he invited me to his home to meet his mother, who we realised was my father’s relative,” he said.

Sam is now calling on all the Makhathini families to come forward and reunite and assist him in his search for his ancestral line.

Growing up in the Western Cape, Sam said his daily bread was sport. “I didn’t stay far from the rugby field. I would jump the fence and go play. Rugby is in my blood,” he said.

As an avid athlete, he still participates in half marathons and said one day he would participate in the local Mandela Marathon.

His passion for sport led him to hold many administrative roles in the sporting arena.

He has held national team management positions for the Swimming and Rugby Worlds Cups, Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and Tri-nations Rugby.

South Africa walked away with six Olympic medals in Sam’s first term as Sascoc president.

He said one of his highlights as president was seeing a medal around the neck of track and field athlete Luvo Manyonga.

Manyonga was banned from participating in sport after he became addicted to using Tik, commonly used in his township in Cape Town.

After the death of his coach Mario Smith, Sam visited the athlete’s family home.

Sam said he was shocked by his situation and arranged for the National Olympic Committee to pay for training and accommodation at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre.

“When he stood with that medal around his neck in Rio, I just screamed ‘Hallelujah we have achieved! He just needed the support and we gave it to him,” Sam said.

Those hailing from the Makhathini clan can call Sandile Makhathini at 083 204 9147 or send an e-mail to

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