Mncube’s love affair with golf, Glendower continues
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.”