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

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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.


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