Mamelodi Sundowns FC gave the families of 10 former hardline supporters of the then Sundowns FC the short shrift in a delicate matter.
The 10 fans had died in a road accident on their way to a game in Krugersdorp in 1967, and their families would have liked an official of the club at their commemorative memorial. But no such luck. The families’ request for an official of the soccer club to be part of the 50th anniversary memorial service for their loved ones was turned down.
Of the 10 victims, seven were women and three were male. The only survivor was 13-year Owen Hartze, who had crawled in under the seat of the minibus they were travelling in at the time of the accident. He died years later.
After hearing of the accident and the death of the supporters at the time, the game was called off by Sundowns.
Yesterday, the families got together in prayer at the Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria West, where eight of the accident victims lay buried, and then in the Eersterust Cemetery – before they proceeded to the Club Bell Air for the rest of the programme.
They were remembering Angela Lewis, Beryl Lewis, Beatrice Holworthy, Rhoda Salie, Katie Hartell, Jubeida Leyds, Sheila Leyds, Vincent Lewis, Charles Roux and Harold Fisher.
Addressing the families, Samuel Linton said the victims had been soccer faithful, with only an interest in sport. Finn Roux said the last conversation he had with his father, Charles, was when Charles had sent him to the shop.
“My father gave me two and a half cents and said I must go and buy him Gold Dollar cigarettes and matches.
“He said I could keep the change. He then spat on the ground and said I better be back before his spit dries up. There was a lot of small money left and I bought two cherry berry drinks and ginger biscuits for me and a friend,” Finn said, smiling at the memory.
The club was founded by Patrice Motsepe’s uncle, Franck “ABC” Motsepe, as well as by Roy Fischer, Ingle Singh and the then attacking midfielder Bernard “Dancing Shoes” Hartze.
Some of the families said they still supported Sundowns and that only the owners of the club had changed. But they “were disappointed” that the present club management thought so little of their fans.
“We personally contacted Patrice Motsepe and he was thankful and referred us to Alex Shikoane to discuss the arrangements. We were not asking for money; we just wanted some sort of recognition,” Vincent Osman said.
Shikoane yesterday referred The Citizen to team spokesperson Thulani Thuswa, who said he would speak later as he was in a meeting.