Indebted to UWC – Chester’s widow
MARIA Williams, the widow of rugby great Chester Williams, in an emotional tribute at his memorial service yesterday, said that when all the doors closed for him in South African rugby, UWC kindly opened one.
She said this to a packed hall with some of the 1995 World Cup team, including captain Francois Pienaar and several other great rugby players who came to pay their last respects to the rugby icon, who died on Friday of a heart attack aged 49.
She singled out UWC director of sport Mandla Gagayi for giving “Chessie” that opportunity and said the family would always be indebted to the UWC.
“MandIa, I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts what you did for Chester four years ago. You allowed Chester to restart his career in South Africa. All his life he had to fight to get a position in South Africa.”
Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille in her keynote address said President Cyril Ramaphosa had declared Williams’s funeral an official provincial funeral. She spoke more on the lighter moments of Williams’s life, adding that they spent many hours together.
“What I most remember about Chester is his love and care for the community. When we had this big drug problem in South Africa, we ran this campaign to show that drugs are not just a problem of a drug addict but a problem for all of us.”
Acting UWC rector and vice-chancellor Professor Pamela Dube, in paying tribute to “coach Chester”, said Williams was an outstanding mentor to the students.
“He was a living example of human potential. The family’s pain is the pain we share. Indeed this a moment for us to share the bells of victory to celebrate the life of coach who made difference to our reputation and changed the lives of the sportsmen under his guidance.”
Pienaar said what Williams gave to the sport was “remarkable and can never be forgotten”.
CHESTER Williams’s family sing during the memorial service for the rugby legend at UWC. Williams was the university’s rugby team coach. |