Suze kept free­dom’s goal alive

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OBITUARIES -

AN­THONY Suze, an ex-po­lit­i­cal pris­oner on Robben Is­land who started his own foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion while in­car­cer­ated, has died. He was 75.

Born in 1942 north-west of Pre­to­ria, Suze par­tic­i­pated in sports from his child­hood and went on to play sec­ond-di­vi­sion foot­ball with Methodist FC.

In 1960 he was re­cruited by the Pan African­ist Congress (PAC) and was asked by the po­lit­i­cal party to mo­bilise stu­dents to join the an­ti­a­partheid move­ment.

In 1963, he was one of 14 men ar­rested and sen­tenced to prison on Robben Is­land for a com­bined 185 years.

He was 21 and would spend the next 15 years of his life in­car­cer­ated on the is­land.

Pris­on­ers on Robben Is­land were not per­mit­ted to play foot­ball but, after much per­sis­tence, Suze along with fel­low pris­on­ers Lizo Si­toto, Mark Shin­ners and Sedick Isaacs were al­lowed to form the Makana Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion in 1966.

The as­so­ci­a­tion was named after a 19th cen­tury African chief who had been im­pris­oned on the is­land years be­fore by the Bri­tish.

Suze then es­tab­lished the Manong Foot­ball Club, which be­came one of the lead­ing teams in the league and had a fierce ri­valry with the Ja­cob Zuma-cap­tained Rangers team. Manong would go on to win the in­au­gu­ral league com­pe­ti­tion. Suze played for the team. In 1978 he was re­leased from prison and con­tin­ued to take up the strug­gle against apartheid.

He would go on to live in Clare­mont, just north of Pre­to­ria, and be­come a director at Et­se­beth Suze De­vel­op­ment, a com­mer­cial business de­vel­op­ment com­pany.

While no longer in ex­is­tence the Makana FA was made an hon­orary mem­ber of Fifa dur­ing an event in 2007. The Robben Is­land Museum said in a state­ment that Suze would be re­mem­bered as a “fierce” player and an in­spir­ing fig­ure who stood up for the rights of his com­rades.

A memo­rial ser­vice was held at the At­teridgeville Com­mu­nity Hall on Novem­ber 16. The fu­neral was held in Pre­to­ria on Novem­ber 18. – Week­end Ar­gus Re­porter

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