Cobus Rademeyer holds a Ph.D from the University of the Free State (The role of sports isolation as factor in the struggle for a new political dispensation in South Africa, 1980 – 1992) and is currently a Senior Lecturer in History at the Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley. Apart from a short stint abroad, he has lectured at tertiary level for most of his academic career in the central part of South Africa – the Free State and Northern Cape provinces. His research interests include Sports.
Isaiah Bud Mbelle, the Father of Black Sport in South Africa
Isaiah Bud Mbelle would have been a remarkable man in any era in any country. He could speak six languages fluently, but more important was his ability to organise people. Bud Mbelle was the first to organise inter-provincial tournaments for black cricketers and rugby players in South Africa. He was responsible for organising the first non-racial inter-provincial rugby tournament in August 1898, and four months later he did the same for the cricketers. Bud Mbelle was responsible for getting the Barnato Trophy donated so that black cricketers could play cricket on the same level as the white cricketers with their Currie Cup. This feat was replicated for rugby, as Bud Mbelle was responsible for getting the Rhodes Cup donated as ultimate prize for black rugby players. From the start of his career as a sport administrator he was determined that discrimination in any form should not be part of sport. With the establishment of the South African Colonial Rugby Football Board in Kimberley in 1897, he was elected as the body’s first secretary. Using his position within the Board, he ensured that the platform was laid for the future of sport among black people in South Africa. With Sol Plaatje as his brother in, it came as no surprise that Bud Mbelle would end up in politics. In 1917, he was elected as the Secretary-General of the then South African Native National Congress (SANNC, later the ANC). The man behind black sport in its infant years in South Africa was Isaiah Bud Mbelle. Others took the chair, but almost in every case, the power behind the throne was Bud Mbelle – the man with the vision that sport should unite not divide and the man with brilliant organising skills.