Steven Tau
3 minute read
5 Jun 2014
6:00 am

Tears as mourners remember ‘Shakes’

Steven Tau

Mourners who attended the memorial service of fallen SA legend Isaac "Shakes" Kungwane in Alexandra yesterday, could not hide their emotions.

A poster bears a message of support during a memorial service in honor of Isaac 'shakes' Kungwane in Alexandra, 04 June 2014. The former football player died on 28 May 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former team-mates of Kungwane at Kaizer Chiefs and Alexandra Blackpool, where his career began, shared tears as they recalled their special moments with the player renowned for his pinpoint passing.

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Pollen Ndlanya, who also plied his trade in Turkey, described Shakes as his brother and mentor.

Former Bafana Bafana player Pollen Ndlanya recalls his his final moments with Isaac 'shakes' Kungwane during a memorial service in Alexandra, 04 June 2014, held in honor of the former footballer who died on 28 May 2014.Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former Bafana Bafana player Pollen Ndlanya recalls his his final moments with Isaac ‘shakes’ Kungwane during a memorial service in Alexandra, 04 June 2014, held in honor of the former footballer who died on 28 May 2014.Picture: Refilwe Modise

“I remember when Shakes called me to go and watch a Chiefs match in Nelspruit.

“As we were en route to the match, Shakes stopped playing the gospel music in the car and asked me what I did with all the money I had earned as a footballer,” Ndlanya said.

He said Shakes was a straight talker who did not “beat about the bush”.

“He used to call a spade a spade, and he was not a fake, or a pretender,” said Ndlanya, who kept his composure despite having tears in his eyes.

Richard Sibanyoni, who played alongside Shakes in the mid-’80s at Blackpool, described him as a loyal person.

Minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula gives his message of support to the family of Isaac 'shakes' Kungwane during a memorial service in Alexandra, 04 June 2014, held in honor of the former football player who died on 28 May 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula gives his message of support to the family of Isaac ‘shakes’ Kungwane during a memorial service in Alexandra, 04 June 2014, held in honor of the former football player who died on 28 May 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

“I want to make a plea to the sports minister, who is here, that the government consider renaming the Alexandra stadium after Shakes,” Sibanyoni said to resounding applause from the hundreds of mourners who converged on the 3-Square stadium.

Upon taking to the podium, Mbalula said the government would support the move.

“If the people want this, then they will have to get what they want. You, as residents of Alexandra, will now have to tell your local leaders that this is what you want,” he said.

Mbalula said he was a “prolific” player who defied the odds and called on the youth to emulate Shakes.

“Shakes was self-made, and we draw solace from him as he decided to become what he aspired to be,” Mbalula added.

Another legend, and current SA Under-23 football team coach, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba said Kungwane always used to come up with something irrelevant at the Johannesburg Masters legends meetings.

South Africa Under 23 soccer coach Ephraim 'shakes' Mashaba gives expresses his condolences to the family of Isaac 'shakes' Kungwane during a memorial service in Alexandra, 04 June 2014, held in honor of the former football player who died on 28 May 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

South Africa Under 23 soccer coach Ephraim ‘shakes’ Mashaba gives expresses his condolences to the family of Isaac ‘shakes’ Kungwane during a memorial service in Alexandra, 04 June 2014, held in honor of the former football player who died on 28 May 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

“He would just walk into the meeting, finding us discussing serious matters, and would just have a smile on his face and say we should not be so serious.”

A team-mate of Shakes at Chiefs, Ntsie Maphike, said his death presented a “sweet sorrow” moment to the football family.

Happy Ntshingila from SuperSport TV, where Shakes worked as an analyst, said Kungwane will never be forgotten.

“During my last conversation with him, he said he was worried that his contract might not be renewed, but I told him not to be, because I believed that Shakes was a people’s person – he was himself when in front of the camera,” he added.

Kungwane, who died last week aged 43, will be laid to rest at Fafung village in Brits, North West on Saturday.