Papwa / Golf’s Lost Legend
he story of the late Papwa Sewgolum, alongside cricketer Basil D’Oliveira probably the most prominent sporting victim of apartheid, is having another revival, some 52 years after he famously stood outside in the rain at Durban Country Club to collect his Natal Open trophy. Novelist and short story writer Maxine Case is the latest author to look at his life story, which had so much promise while he was allowed to compete against white golfers in the 1960s, and ended so sadly after he was banned by the government.
Ten years ago Christopher Nicholson, a high court judge, produced an excellent study of Papwa in his book, Papwa Sewgolum / From Pariah to Legend. However, that book wasn’t met with much enthusiasm by Papwa’s descendants. His son, Rajen, did not attend the launch of the book at Durban CC in protest at what he considered to be defamatory passages about Papwa’s personal life.
Rajen, however, was present when the new book was unveiled at the Golf Hall of Fame Museum in the Cape Town Waterfront. Again, as was the case 10 years ago, there’s talk of nancial backers getting Hollywood to make a movie about Papwa. The new approved book costs R250, while Nicholson’s can be bought for R150. – Stuart McLean