180 º TV man Echbert Boezak remembers Carnavon
Johannesburg-based radio and TV man Echbert Boezak has visited several countries to report on sports events and has met some of the world’s greatest athletes. Every time he boards a plane, he remembers the conversation he had with his father one long-ago
You won’t find the name Alwyn Christiaan Boezak in any of SA Rugby’s annuals, but my father believed he was one of the best eighthmen in South Africa. “There have only been three proper number eights in this country,” he used to joke. “Hennie Muller, Morné du Plessis and me.”
My father was from Carnarvon in the Northern Cape, and although I didn’t see the legendary matches in which he represented the town against the first teams of Loxton or Williston, many people have testified that “Master definitely wasn’t playing Hasie Bo” (a children’s game in which a ball is thrown around aimlessly).
My first few visits to Carnarvon weren’t exactly pleasant. It’s sheep country, and as a child I wasn’t fond of mutton. Then there was the brackish water, and the winter cold is legendary. To top it all: “There is nothing to do in Carnarvon except reading old newspapers and counting drunk people,” my cousin would joke. Yet my father told me I’d learn an important life lesson here: “Carnarvon builds character. It will build yours too.”
Indeed, as I grew older, I developed an appreciation for the town and its historical buildings. “One day when you work in radio or TV, you should tell people about this town,” my father asked of me. “When the satellite arrives here, great things will happen.” He was referring to the MeerKAT radio telescope that has since been erected nearby.
My father is no longer alive to boast about his town but, thanks to its brackish water, Carnarvon’s coffee is some of the best in the country, and its lamb and wors are superb. And I think he would have been quite proud of the “satellite” and of me, and of the fact that today I can talk to everyone about rugby.
ECHBERT BOEZAK | CARNARVON