Suze kept freedom’s goal alive
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