Rugby mourns passing of leading African historian

Sep 3 • General News, Springbok News • 2435 Views • Comments Off on Rugby mourns passing of leading African historian

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South African rugby is mourning the passing of one of its foremost historians following the death of Vuyisa Qunta, 65, in Pretoria on August 26.
Qunta was foremost a Struggle activist and foremost intellectual of black consciousness but he was also a passionate rugby man and co-authored two most important SARU publications, 112 Years: Tests and Heroes and The Badge.

He also wrote pieces for the SA Rugby Annual and was a sounding board to SARU during the development of the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum.

His loss, as well as the earlier passing of Braber Ngozi and Curnick Madyesha, came way too soon as they were individuals who assumed and shared the mammoth responsibility of documenting the history of African rugby.

With their passing we have lost a treasure trove of rugby knowledge. They were all contemporary witnesses to the greatness of such African rugby luminaries Grant Khomo, Winty Pandle, Stambo Cushe, Eric Majola and Morgan Cushe amongst others.

The Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) website in tribute said of his rugby passion: “With Encyclopaedic knowledge of the history of Rugby in South Africa particularly history of Black people’s participation in the sport, Cde Qunta would regale those interested with the exploits of various rugby teams from Black High Schools and clubs. Using his tremendous storytelling abilities, Bhuti would transport one to matches in the late 1800s, 1930s and 1960s. With him one would live the excitement felt by the spectators, the adrenalin rush felt by a forward on his way to the goal-line, the exhilaration felt by the winning team as well as the disappointment felt by the losers.”

In his political life he joined the Black People’s Convention and threw himself to its activities in the Western Cape. He also became active in the South African Student Organisation (SASO) while a student at Fort Hare University, from which he was expelled in the early 1970s.

He left South Africa for exile, where he helped organize Black Consciousness Activists and participated in the formation of the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA). He also co-founded the Azanian National Liberation Army (AZANLA) and was part of the first contingent of BC Activist to receive military training.

He was involved in many military campaigns within Apartheid South Africa, having responsibility for scouting and logistics, helping identify routes for AZANLA Cadres and developing supply lines.

As BCMA’s Secretary for Publicity and Information Cde Qunta was responsible for the production of the BCMA’s quarterly journal called Solidarity, and its monthly mobilisation pamphlet called Letsetse(The Flea). Both publications were eagerly awaited inside the country and in exile by BC activists.

Upon his return from exile he served as AZAPO Secretary for Publicity and Information and thereafter AZAPO Western Cape Chairperson.

In later life he worked for the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Courtesy of SARU

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