ZOLA KONZANI, 1961-2017
Eastern Cape golf is mourning the loss of 2015 SA Senior Amateur champion Zola Konzani, 56, after a year-long battle with cancer. Konzani won in style at Humewood, by 12 strokes over 72 holes, becoming the first black golfer to win this national title. He also went to No 1 on the rankings. KZN golfer Kevin Curren nicknamed him “Umthakathi,” the magician, for his remarkable short game. The Eastern Cape honoured Konzani by naming him the Sport Elizabeth Homegrown Hero of the Year.
Konzani, similar in stature to Gary Player, came to prominence in the 2013 SA Senior at Fancourt, T-5 in his first appearance. That year he proved he’s as fiercely competitive as Player by earning selection for three different Eastern Province teams, Premier, Mid-Amateur and Senior. He became the first man to play in all three IPTs in the same year. And he went on to win medals at each of them, an equally rare achievement. He helped EP win the Premier B Division at Westlake in 2014, and was in the EP teams which took B Division honours at the 2015 MidAmateur and Senior IPTs.
Interviewed in Golf Digest in 2013, Konzani said he had been steeped in golf from an early age, as his father worked on the course at Wedgwood Park in PE. He played as a youngster, then gave it up for 30 years to play soccer. He returned to golf in 2005.