I always enjoy the banter with Aslam Khota.Especially when it comes to cricket. Now and then at Kentucky Milk Bar we meet some of the ball Legends,Here the stories.Banjo also has some photos and tales about Asal noo Wakat Back in the Day.So its good to pay homage mow and then to some of the Legends in the past.I know I published some photos in the past but heres Aslams piece on Legends reborn
THE ASLAM KHOTA COLUMN
Abdul Samad ‘Sampie’ Essack was a fine footballer in his own right and he was one of a galaxy of stars and stalwarts that attended a reunion hosted by the Lenasia + 2010 Forum. Here he recounts for our readers in fascinating detail the players that made an impression on him and how he was moved when meeting long-lost footballing friends and heroes. The amazing aspect of this article is the many names unheard of or rarely spoken about. The Indicator will be running series of articles by ex-
It was a knock on the door and a hand-delivered invitation by Shiraz Abbas for Mr. and Mrs. A S Essack.
The Gauteng Chapter of the SA Federation legends was to be launched at the Baitun-Noor Hall, to honour the contribution made by individuals and teams towards the promotion and upholding of non-racial sport. I had some trepidation about this launch and thought, what did the organizers hope to achieve?
On arriving at the hall, I was pleasantly surprised. There was a huge gathering of sport personalities, the media and professional footballers of the bygone years. There among others were our old and graying officials, managers and coaches of the Federation days, all present at the function. The organizers ensured that all those who played and administered and even those who played a meaningful role in
the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s from the old Transvaal, were present. I played a few professional matches for Dynamos and was doubly honoured to be amongst so many to be invited!
It was a time to renew acquaintances, re-establish contacts and reminisce about the glory of the past.Speaker after speaker recalled the heydays. When the former president Norman Middleton was called up to deliver his speech it took me back to 1966 in Durban, where I attended a mayoral function along with all other provincial teams that participated in the amateur Kajee Cup. There he opened his speech with; “Silence is golden, Speech is silver…..,” something to that effect and here on the 7th May 2010, was the same man, 89 years strong, who once again delivered an inspiring speech.
My mind drifted again back to 1959, 60 and 61, during the period of the Non-Racial South African Soccer league. Avid footballers we were. By 10am on Saturday mornings we were at the Natalspruit Grounds, the “Mecca of South African Football”, to gain prime positions to watch the main match at 3pm. Teams such as Aces United, Cape Town United, Berea, Avalon United, Transvaal United, Blackpool, Pirates and Swallows United entertained and enthralled us with their charisma, quality, speed and skill.
I witnessed some of the finest football from some of the greatest footballers South Africa ever produced. Names such as Excellence Mtembu, Sputnik Mazibuko, Donny Gilmore, Gova Ellis, Difference Mbangu, Dennis Barends, Claude Black, Paulie de Jonge, Dharam Mohan, Ebrahim Adams, Bouke Ndamase, Siva Govender, Links Padayachee, the 18 year old Kaiser Motaung and others, including the finest goalkeeper in my opinion this country ever produced – Mandy David’s. If these footballers were around today, at the top of their games, South Africa would have had one of the finest teams in Africa, if not the world! It would have been a mammoth task to pick a SA team.
Some memorable matches have made an indelible mark on my mind. I can still recall the 7-1 drubbing that Blackpool (an all coloured team) inflicted on Transvaal United. Two weeks later Transvaal reversed the result with a hard fought 1-nil win in the knock-out rounds. The game between Blackpool and Pirates, captained by Eric ‘Scara’ Sono was another thrilling encounter. Blackpool was leading 4-1 and began entertaining to the point of toying with their opponents. Passes were linked across the width of the field and at times three and four players were skipping over the ball to be received by the fifth.
It was a packed ground full of very silent and vanquished Pirates supporters. They started to drift dejectedly out of the grounds.
The few who remained began cheering, whistling and blowing their Vuvuzela’s. It reverberated around the ground like a Mexican wave and suddenly Pirates were inspired and rejuvenated when their big and burly centre-forward, ‘Black Sash’, Scara’s right-hand man, bulldozed his way through the Blackpool defense and scored the second goal. There was no stopping Pirates. The whistles grew louder; the fans cheered them on and as if possessed, scored another three goals in ten minutes of magic, to win 5-4!
What a game! What a finish! Pity the fans that left early.
This was the Pirates that broke-away from the team that played in the Black Professionals League. Sono’s Pirates was virtually made up of the entire Orlando High Schools soccer team. That was the quality of talent they were able to produce in those days.
I reminisce with immense fondness the other greats who come to mind; Frank Prince, Bernard ‘Dancing Shoes’ Hartze, Rashid Khan, Christy Martins, Suliman ‘ Toby’ Hattia and others. What I wouldn’t give to ‘watch’ them just one more time. They have left us with great memories, smiles and in awe of their genius. It was the beautiful game then, let’s keep it the beautiful game now. Bring back the whistling and this might inspire our Bafana to rise above all expectations. More importantly, we must inspire our youth to follow in the boots of the greats that will grace our shores and the gentleman who graced it before!
The SA Fed legends get-together was a great night. Their history and contribution to football must never
Justice Mahomed Jajbhay passed away in early May of Pancreatitis and kidney failure. During his eventful life he interacted with people from diverse backgrounds. The well attended funeral bore testimony to his gracious personality as young and old were there to pay their final respects. He was a giant amongst men and will be sorely missed.
Aslam Khota pays a brief tribute to a long-time family friend.
“Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.” Denis Diderot
Mahomed Jajbhay was young, vibrant and always ready to assist his fellowman. His was a multi-faceted life; in sport, within the judiciary, with educators, both Islamic and secular and in international finance, where he prepared a paper to direct Islamic banking toward working within a Shariah framework.
You did not need to know him to seek advice or support. He was there, at the ready to share
his expertise. From graduates to scholars, secular and religious organizations sought his legal
guidance. “Judgie’ was unlike other men or women in his profession. No doubt there is no sin in seeking an honest living, but many will tell you that Mahomed went beyond himself to render a service.
Mahomed Jajbhay was the eldest of five siblings, four brothers Ahmed (late), Hafez Faizal, Imran and sister Qudaijah. He was born in Vrededorp or Fietas as it is popularly known on 11th August 1958. He schooled at the Vrededorp Boys Primary and completed his higher primary at Model in Lenasia. His high school years were spent at Lenasia High where he attained highest academic and sporting colours.
Mahomed was a debater of note and also captained the school and the Transvaal under-19 and high schools teams. He achieved national honours in cricket after being selected as vice-captain of the South African High Schools XI.
The young and impressionable Mahomed was inspired by his father Ismail who was also an attorney and a batsman par excellence. Ismail is famous for scoring a scintillating 135 not out, out of a total of 191 for the Johannesburg Indian High school team against a senior Wits Union XI which the boys won by eight wickets. His memorable performance against South Africa’s foremost off-spinner, Hugh Tayfield ranks in high in cricket lore. Playing against a Norman Gordon XI, Ismail spanked five consecutive boundaries off Tayfield, who had just returned from South Africa’s triumphant tour against Australia.
Feroza, his wife of 29 years described her husband as one who seemed to have enough time for everyone. He dealt with each person with grace and patience. Yusuf his young son describes his dad as a good friend and always encouraged him to do his best whatever he did. Mahomed was clearly excited about the boy’s talents as a batsman and even continued to bowl and coach him between his periods of convalescence.
Mahomed was also a pacifist and hated to get into arguments, especially with matters concerning the games administration. I remember a look of concern and a frowned expression that spoke a thousand words. It was the evening after the Gauteng Cricket Boards divisive annual elections in August 2005,where a walkout was sparked due to a rigged voting procedure that unceremoniously ousted the Judge as chairman of the board. The loss of the position did not matter; it was the loss of trust and betrayal that hurt.
As chairman, he had noted that a proposal to co-opt two members of colour saw many abstentions. So he recommended a recount via a private ballot, and the two nominees were subsequently outvoted this time. This was proof he said that those who abstained preferred the private ballot so as to protect their identities and loyalties. It meant that Jajbhay too was not re-elected. The Indicator reported that: “the chairman has lost his seat because he had earlier in the evening reminded the delegates of the failure to implement transformation as agreed at the Vereeniging and Kievietskroon commitments set out in 2000.”
Vice-chairman Dr Mohamed Moosajee said at the time that it was a move to oppose the
commitment and to oust Jajbhay. He described the delegates as an unreformed voting majority, who were: “dishonest, deceitful and racist!” Moosajee stormed out and was followed by Jajbhay and the rest of their constituents. After years of trusting and serving the board with integrity and diligence he was put to pasture because for the first time in his tenure, he questioned the legality of the election process and demanded action on the transformation. He was determined to change the structures, but his orchestrated defeat prompted him to admit later that; “I trusted my white colleagues and I regret that I didn’t see it coming”. He occupied this position since 2002 and had previously served as the vice- chairman for five years. He was a member of the board since unity and inception in July 1991.
Mahomed was fiercely conscious about social reform and responsibility and the effect apartheid had on the ordinary man. In the forward that he contributed in my book, ‘Across the great divide’, he wrote poignantly: “For those of us privileged to have played under the repressive laws and legislated group areas, it generated definite truths. Among them was the truth that within each human there resides a spark of divinity; that every human person has an equal claim to dignity which inalienable; that the spirit within each of us is matured and elevated by exercising our capacity for the love towards each other; that we grow in the act of giving and sharing; and that the act of giving and sharing is crucial for the emancipation of the giver himself.”
He was also positive for the country and its embryonic democracy and continued: “A society not exposed to moral challenges and not privileged with a choice of visible and significant alternatives can easily fall into a state of dreary habit and unconscious decay. A nation sharply sensitized through ethical alternatives and challenged to make visibly relevant choice of values and opportunities, is potentially a nation reborn. The dominant group can be liberated from its fears and the dominated from its anger and frustration.” Mahomed was an intellect and as a visionary his loss is tragic.
Judgies life was full and exciting and challenging at the same time. He had the energy and stamina to have served among others; the Independent Electoral Commission, The CCMA, the Land Claims Court.
He was later appointed as a senior Counsel and then as a High Court Judge by former president Thabo Mbeki. He dabbled for a while in business. Cricket administration was perhaps the most challenging as he was at the centre of issues pertaining to Transvaal and Gauteng cricket since unity in 1991. At the onset of his illness, Jajbhay was a member of Cricket South Africa’s legal and governance committee.
Jajbhay missed the cut to serve on the constitutional court but was recently short-listed again.
He helped students, delivering lectures and programmes on motivation. Mahomed set up a Madressa and a Hafez school in his neighborhood and was legal counsel and advisor for Awqaf South Africa. He often wrote articles for various publications. He played cricket with a care-free spirit and captained Crescents and was a member of their dominant team of the 1980’s. There was a brief stint in Durban while studying at Westville and even played for Fordsburg Spurs and Actonville Spurs. His all-round abilities saw him play and captain at the highest level for Transvaal ‘B’ and the senior team in the coveted Howa Bowl.
Mahomed is remembered for his momentous judgment when he was instrumental in granting an interdict against the Sunday Times to stop the publishing of the controversial cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Justice Jajbhay was also in the centre of the storm when he was responsible for passing the judgment that was upheld by the constitutional court against evicting the poor without providing alternative accommodation.
Mahomed was essentially a family man. Between all his responsibilities, he always found the valuable time to be best friends with Feroza, his two daughters Rokaya and Fatima and Yusuf. A sad but brave Feroza accepted their sad loss with courage and said that: “ALLAH has better plans for Mahomed.”