OUR HEROES

Award Winner 2016

OUR UNSUNG SPORTS HEROES AND HEROINES

Joseph Patrick Aaron Thompo Dua

Joe Dau photos by Johnny Mohale

Popularly known as Joe, he was a champion athletics sprinter in both the 100 and 220 yards and the relays at Kgabo Primary School. He proceed to senior primary school where he continued to excel in the 100 and 220 yards athletics sprints and relays winning championships with athletes like Bongi Mokone for Walton Jameson School. He was also a right-winger in the junior school soccer team which included players who later became prominent like Godfrey Mononyane, Lucas Masterpieces Moripe and Bucks Diale.

At Matladi Secondary School in Zebediela where he was a boarder during 1968 – 1970, he was in the athletics and soccer teams. He went to Mokopane College in Mahwelereng where he trained as a teacher during 1971 – 1972 and got attracted to boxing. But he soon met boys from his home town who were softball players for the college team. Wilfred Papza Makgatho, Hoseah Zed Kekana and Sello Mpepele introduced him to softball which offered the incentive of going away on sports trips because, unlike boxing, softball was popular at most other high schools and colleges and he would thus enjoy free trips as a player. He got hooked and later excelled as a player.

After qualifying as a teacher, Joe proceeded to Mokomene High School in Ga-Ramokgopa, Botokwa to study for matriculation during 1973 – 1974. His athletics sprints were revived and he also thrived as a softballer. He represented the school in both codes in which they became school champions.

Joe returned home to Atteridgeville to become a mathematics and science teacher at Patogeng Primary School in 1975 where he also became involved in sports. Then in 1979 he was transferred as one of founder teachers of a new secondary school in Atteridgeville, D H Peta. He became the Sports Master responsible for all sporting activities. He was also the player/coach of the school softball team which later affiliated to the local softball league as Jets Softball Club to improve their standard. He was encouraged and inspired by another local softball giant, Charles Sejamothopo Motau, to form the club because there was only one club left in Atteridgeille, Pioneers, after the demise of legendary clubs like Cardinals and Bostonians. As Jets they had the opportunity to participate in the then Northern Transvaal Softball Union tournaments in Mamelodi, Soshanguve and Garankuwa. Jets became very strong and dominated softball in the schools and union tournaments.

Joe Dau and the developing softballers under his wing.

Joe Latakgomo, a local prominent sports journalist, editor and author, assisted Joe in the formation of Jets Softball Club in 1979 as its Manager. Soon they were joined by other softball veterans, Elliot Makhaya, Pint Masoka and Ivan Tatane to help in the administration of the club. Joe continued to play a major role as the club’s secretary, coach and trainer.

Joe also became a sports administrator. He was a member of the National School Sports Council where he was the national head of softball. He made his mark as the chief negotiator during the school sports transformation process for a democratic dispensation. In 1995 he became the Multicode Sports Tournament Director which included softball, netball, cricket, tennis, soccer, athletics and others. He also proved his mettle in sports as coach in the then Northern Transvaal Softball Union. After retiring from teaching, he was head-hunted by Gauteng Softball Association to become their Softball Development Officer for Atteridgeville and Saulsville.

As coach and mentor, Joe has played a meaningful role in helping to influence and produce others who became prominent in softball such as Marks Mangaba, an astute administrator at Jets Softball Club; Precious Selomane, a brilliant player and Sammy Moeletsi, one of the best pitchers in the country, and also administrators at Jets.  He groomed his own son Kholofelo Forthias Dau whose excellent performance in softball got him to represent the country in the IX Men’s World Fast Pitch Tournament in July 1996 in Michigan, USA. Forthias proceeded to become the national coach of the Senior Men’s Softball Squad.

In July 2016, Forthias and another Jets product, Elmon Motsupi, accompanied the National Under 19 Softball Squad which participated in the World Championship in Michigan, United States, as coach and manager respectively.

Another of his protégés, Ashley Makola of Mamelodi, became an umpire of the International Softball Federation. Others include Samson Rakgoale who became one of the best national pitchers and Vincent Kekana who was an all-rounder of note.

The highlights in his 47 year sports career include the following:

1990 – 1997 as the champion of the National School Softball Tournament, a record he held until his retirement from teaching and which still stands in 2016; 1992 – 1994  as champion of the then Northern Transvaal Softball Union  League for seniors; 1994 as convenor of the Atteridgeville/Saulsville Sports Forum and later becoming its chairman when it was renamed Atteridgeville/Saulsville Sports and Recreation Council; 1995 as National Multicode Tournament Director; and 2009 appointed by Gauteng Softball Association for sports development.

The Council campaigned for the improvement and building of sports facilities in the township which today stand as testimony to their bold and selfless efforts. Some of the members of the Council were Meadow Molala representing soccer, Tommy Madiba and Joseph Kekana for tennis, Lexy Mothabela for multicode, Sarah Molele for netball and Sheila Lehlabe for women’s soccer.

In 2011 they formed the Atteridgeville/Saulsville Softball Development Club (ASSDEC) which is registered as a Non-Profit Organisation for public benefit. It develops school and club softball and capacitates teachers by softball clinics. They organise school league games and are involved in Ekasi Softball Revitalisation backed by Softball South Africa. He aims to turn ASSDEC into Softball School of Excellence

He is married to Petronella Ngokoana, nee Makopo, who is also a retired teacher. They are blessed with four girls and two boys, one of who is Forthias, the eldest who is the head coach of Softball South Africa.