Award Winner 2014
OUR UNSUNG SPORTS HEROES AND HEROINES
Joseph Sekete Hilson Lesiba Kekana
Joseph Sekete Hilson Lesiba Kekana, who was born in 1931, has a distinguished standing and a rare achievement for having been a student, a teacher and a principal at the same oldest institution of learning in Atteridgeville, the famous Hofmeyr High School.
Joseph Kekana began to impress in both tennis and athletics as a sprinter during his days as a student at Hofmeyr; and as a teacher from 1956, he became responsible for tennis and athletics as the school team coach and manager. He also played for and participated in the administration of the local tennis club, the local tennis association and the regional tennis association.
The love for tennis was inspired by his tennis playing brother, David, while they were still residents of the then Roberts Height, which was later renamed Voortrekker Hoogte, now known as Thaba Tshwane. Their love for tennis motivated them to rebuild the derelict tennis court at Roberts Height and invited clubs from other areas to play against. Ntate Koopa, the older tennis player, was their inspiration. Some of his other well known playing mates there, were Phampha Mogale and Charles Mdluli, who continued to play with when they moved to Atteridgeville in 1956. At Hofmeyr High School, he partnered with Nchumise Coin Lechaba and Saul Morolo. He also represented Pretoria Normal College when he trained there as a teacher.
Joseph Kekana’s other love in sports was athletics where he excelled in the then 110 and 220 yards sprints. He represented Hofmeyr High School together with his brother David, Thomas Maputle, Spike Mushi and Dan Setshedi.
Together with Solomon Bopalamo, Skuqa Ramahuma and E Tlakula, they were the 4 x 110 yards Northern Transvaal Athletics Champions for three years at Normal College during 1953 to 1955. He also represented the College in 1953 at the Northern Transvaal Athletics Championship in the 110 and 220 yards races where he competed against top athletes from Kilnerton College, who were Raborifi and Thomas Maputle who had then left Hofmeyr.
For sixteen years from 1956 when he became the Hofmeyr athletics coach, up to 1972, his students were the Pretoria inter-high schools champions. They only lost in two of those years but won the girls’ 4 x 110 yards relay races in those two years.
As the tennis school team coach, they regularly played against Lady Selborne High School tennis team which was then trained by Daniel Makgabo, who later became a priest. Lady Selborne which was represented by David Motlatla amongst others, was also very competitive in their encounters. Some of the students that he produced as the Hofmeyr tennis team regulars over the years were Lesley Matila, Simon Brander, Boyboy Lekgetho, Monk Nkomo, Morgan Tlalang and Ernest Kenoshi.
The crack athletes he produced over the years at Hofmeyr included Elias Scram Selepe, Philo Chabangu, Matthew Tshitabane, Paike Sithole, the sisters Dixie and Constance Mokone, Junior Motau, Rosina Sedibane, Lindi Chabangu and Shinge Mokgatle.
Joseph Kekana’s other contribution to the community in tennis in the 1960s up to the 1980s, was as player and treasurer of Ditshepe Tennis Club; as player and treasurer and chairman of the Atteridgeville Tennis Association; as chairman of the Northern Transvaal Tennis Association serving and playing with Antipas Sehlapelo who was the secretary, Masobe Mogashoa who was the treasurer and Ishmael Dockrat who was a committee member.
As chairman of the Northern Transvaal Tennis Association in the 1970s, they organised and ran successful tournaments sponsored by PUTCO which attracted players from as far as the Western Cape, the then Natal, Orange Free State, South and Eastern Transvaal. They were able to attract players from far because of the popularity of Atteridgeville as venue.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Joseph Kekana, together with other sports leaders in the community, facilitated the acquisition of sports facilities through pressure on the authorities. The two original clay tennis courts in Atteridgeville were developed in stages into five and later eight modern hard tennis courts with a club house, ablutions and flood lights.
His major achievements as a competitive tennis player were winning in the following Atteridgeville Lawn Tennis Union Championships:
1973 – Men’s Doubles with Tommy Madiba; 1973 – Men’s Singles; 1974 – Men’s Singles; 1974 – Mixed Doubles with his wife, Francina; 1974 – Men’s Doubles with Tommy Madiba; 1975 – Men’s Doubles with Tommy Madiba; and 1975 – Mixed Doubles with his wife, Francina.
Joseph Kekana is a loving husband married for 62 years to Francina Motlakadibe, nee Lehabe and a devoted father to three children.