In Memory Of Johannes Fanyana Shongwe
In Memory of Johannes Fanyana Shongwe
Memoir of “Bra Super” By Freda Shongwe (his widow)
This is the man, born on 26 January 1926, I had shared my life with for more than 30 years since 1950, got married to and lived with under the same roof for 27 years until he passed on prematurely on 27 May 1977. The athlete, the boxer, the footballer, the golfer, the husband, the father and the grandfather!!
The wedding, young family and memorial!
- The Athlete: A good athlete for the A.M.E School in Marabastad, Pretoria. He later joined the Doughal Hall Boys Club in Bantule, Pretoria. This is where he took part in and dominated the men’s relay race together with Raborifi Thomas Maputla and McKenzie Mamosebo. The unbeatable trio gave other teams a tough time. He excelled in the then 100 yards race and collected quite a number of trophies.
- The Boxer: This is the sport that got other boxers to name him “Super Mouse”. He was quick in dodging the opponent’s blows like a mouse. This is where he trained and helped promote Nipper Monedi, another sports legend of the community.
- The Footballer: Bantule Callies which was later named Bantu Callies and then later transformed to Pretoria Callies, was the club he cherished in his childhood and also later played for and managed. When football clubs in Pretoria formed the Pretoria Bantu Football Association (PBFA) and later renamed it Pretoria Football Association (PFA), he was elected President for two consecutive terms. It was under his leadership that the famous Steve “Kalamazoo” Mokone got to Holland to play professional football. In later years Lucas “Masterpiece” Moripe also followed and went to play in Hong Kong, China. It was during his time that other gems like Patrick Nkosi “Let them dance” Molala were also unearthed.
- The Golfer: As a keen golfer in the 50s and 60s, together with other amateur golfers he later formed the Black Rock Golfers Club. This club never played in big competitions but for the love of the game they went on playing many friendly matches locally. He loved this sport from the bottom of his heart. He played with the likes of Kappies “Makapan”, Nipper Monedi, Khatabila, Lavius Mashile, King Manyorula and many others. Young men like Shime Sithole, Matty Sithole, Ali Kekana, Libali Masekwameng, Maberu Seshoka, Dinky Moropane and others who followed in his footsteps are a testimony to his contribution to golf development.
- The Husband: After our wedding in 1950, we stayed in Bantule, New Clare, Pretoria. In 1951 we moved to Lady Selborne, Pretoria. In 1955 with the influence of the then Department of Posts and Telegraphs where my husband was employed, we got a house in Atteridgeville. It was not easy in those apartheid days to get a house if you did not belong to one of the local civic groups.
- The Father: All the six children followed in their father’s sports steps. Mangi and Dick were sprinters at school. Dick did so well that he got nicknamed after the famous boxer Carl BoBo. While Franco and Ndhlabole were boxers at school and also played football in local community leagues. Their father always wanted the best for his children. He also offered to train his children with others in athletics at their schools. His inspiring quote for his children which they still remember is “The glory of mankind lies not in never falling down but rising each time you have had a fall.”
Mama Freda Shongwe on right with daughter Mangi
(photo by Johnny Mohale)
The Shongwe grandchildren at a Dinner after the 2012 Golf Day (photo by Johnny Mohale)
It is not surprising that the love of funding others developed in the family. This is the seed he planted when in leadership and in sports. He organized charity matches to fund the less fortunate. Schools such as Kgabo and Makgwaraneng in Atteridgeville benefited from this. The most memorable of these fundraising events, is the Steve Kalamazoo Mokone football games to help him fund the trip to Holland.
He was also an active volunteer in the Care Group at SANTA Centre helping with their fundraising and assisting discharged tuberculosis patients to regularly take their medication at home.
My late husband was not only a sportsman but he also held many administration positions in sports circles in Atteridgeville including soccer, tennis, boxing, golf and athletics. He was also an active participant in a number of charity organisations and school committees in the community.
Some historical point needs mentioning that Lucas Moripe Stadium in Ateridgeville, named after the inimitable football genius, “Masterpiece”, was originally named after Super Shongwe, my husband. It was then known as Super Stadium as a tribute to the sterling role he played in the development of sports in the community, even though some in the community dispute this.
As a family, we are still very proud of my late husband, father and grandfather, Bra Super, despite the fact that he has been dead now for 41 years as at 2018. We are happy that dedicated community of golfers and philanthropic donors and funders selflessly and respectively continued to keep his memory alive as active participants in and gracious contributors to the Super Shongwe Memorial and Charity Golf Days.