Mn­cube’s love af­fair with golf, Glendower con­tin­ues

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - GRANT WIN­TER

ONE of Glendower Golf Club’s most il­lus­tri­ous mem­bers who has been keep­ing tabs on how the likes of Rory McIl­roy are far­ing in the BMW South African Open at the club is 76-year-old strug­gle vet­eran and self-con­fessed golf nut Dr Stephen Mn­cube.

And apart from watch­ing the golf, to­day he is able to rem­i­nisce about way back in the 1950s when he used to cad­die at the club.

“I started out lug­ging bags when I was just 10 years old,” he re­calls.

“I was a thin lit­tle chap with nice, clean short pants. Be­cause I was so small, the cad­die master would make sure I got the light­est bag. Bobby Locke was around in those days but I never got to cad­die for him. We would get paid half-a-crown (two shillings and six­pence) for the round which would pay for my trans­port to and from school. I’d some­times charm the ‘madams’ and they’d give me an ex­tra shilling which was quite a bit of money in those days.

“My fa­ther had few re­sources and couldn’t of­fer me much. But what he did of­fer me was en­cour­age­ment to, as he put it, ‘de­velop my brain’.

“While the other young boys would look around for half-smoked cig­a­rettes, I’d hunt for thrown-out books in the garbage and I was able to es­tab­lish a li­brary at home.”

Stephen’s fam­ily lived in what is now Hurly­vale but when the Group Ar­eas Act came into force they were forced to move to Orlando. “To cut a long story short, liv­ing there and be­ing ex­posed to men like Nel­son Man­dela and Wal­ter Sisulu, I be­came politi­cised and, as an an­gry young man when I was about 19 or 20, I ran away to the refugee camps in Africa.”

While there, and by us­ing his ini­tia­tive and charm, he was able to land him­self a schol­ar­ship to study in Amer­ica at Syra­cuse Uni­ver­sity in up­state New York where he would ul­ti­mately earn his doc­tor­ate in in­for­ma­tion science.

Mn­cube would spend 30 years study­ing and work­ing in Amer­ica un­til, in 1994, Madiba, his friend, urged him to re­turn to South Africa and he would sub­se­quently be­come chair­man of the In­de­pen­dent Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Au­thor­ity of South Africa (Icasa) and also serve on the com­mu­ni­ca­tion task team (Com­task) along­side, among oth­ers, FW de Klerk, Mandla Lange and Ray­mond Louw which trav­elled the world in a bid to pro­mote South African good­will.

Back to golf and Dr Mn­cube, who has been a mem­ber at Glendower for 18 years, says: “I so love this game, and I so love this coun­try – a coun­try which I left as an an­gry young man but now a place which I hold out so much hope for. We need unity, and a sport, like golf, helps bring us to­gether. I’m so pleased to have made a lit­tle bit of a dif­fer­ence to this coun­try.

“God has been good to me and blessed me. I’m also so pleased to have had a life­long love af­fair with golf. Think­ing back, it was when I was a cad­die all those years ago here at Glendower that my jour­ney started. This game has taught me so much about my­self and about life.”

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