As South Africans we have a history of not celebrating our legends while we still have them. It is only after they are dead that we shower them with all the respect and adulation that deserve. We have done this to a host of figures who had proved influential to us during the peak of whatever they were doing and I’m afraid we are still doing it.
It puzzles me how, in 2017, inspirational figures like Mr. Kaizer Motaung Snr. still does not have an honorary Doctorate from any of our Universities. Bra Kaizer built Kaizer Chiefs Football Club in 1970 and by the turn of the century it had won everything there is to win in South Africa.
In its 47 year existance, Chiefs’ influence has extended to much more than football and sports in general. At the height of the apartheid regime Amakhosi proved one of the few unifying sources for the Black and White population in the country. With Bafana Bafana banned from sporting activities and other major sporting codes segregated by the apartheid government, Chiefs were importing the Ted Dumutrus and having them mentoring township kids. They were playing your Wits Universities and other “white” teams in front of thousands of South Africans of all colours in the stands.
Today it’s influence is felt in many spheres of the world. So much so that commercial brands and other major players in the entertainment industry wants to be associated with Mr. Motaung’s brainchild, see the globally renowned Kaiser Chiefs band from Germany. The bands name is not coincidentally reminiscent to that of Kaizer Chiefs, it is by design and that is because of Chiefs- and to a large extent Mr. Motaung’s- influence.
But the story of Mr. Motaung’s legacy goes far beyond those achievements. His business acumen is not to be laughed at either. Without any higher education qualifications, Bra Kaizer has managed to build from scratch what has grown to be one of the most recognisable brand not only in the country but in Africa as a whole. Kaizer Chiefs has grown up to be one of the most recognisable sports brands in the world and the fact that this has all been achieved under his leadership deserves massive respect on it’s own. Basically, Mr. Motaung is running a business empire that he, not single-handedly of course, built from nothing but today it’s so ahead of its peers that everyone wants a piece of it.
There are many honorary doctors out there who have not touched and changed as many lives as Kaizer Motaung, can only wish to build half a brand as influential as Chiefs and who have not provided half as selfless service to the country and the continent of Africa. Admittedly, an honorary doctorate is not the only way we can give show our respect and appreciation for legends like Mr. Motaung.
Of course he got the Entrepreneurial Leadership award by the Henley Management Collage 13 years ago but is that enough for the epitomy of black excellence? Is that enough for the man who left South Africa, conquered America and came back to implant all he had learned on the other side of the Atlantic? The one man who learned from him and took his model as it is has gone on to be another prime example of black excellence. Jomo Sono conquered South Africa, went to America and came back to plant what he had learned over there in exactly the same way Kaizer had done seven years before him. In naming Kaizer Chiefs in 1970, Motaung incorporated his name with that of Atlanta Chiefs, the team he had played and, probably, learned the most from. Sono- who had also left Orlando Pirates to America played for New York Cosmos- did the same upon his return, naming his Jomo Cosmos seven years later.
I believe as writers, an autobiography of an individual as influential as Bra Kaizer should have been written a long time ago. It is my dream to get the chance to ghost write his autobiography for not only sports fans to indulge in Bra Kaizer’s wisdom but for the next generations of entrepreneurs also.
The reason I emphasised Kaizer Chiefs is because I want the man to be respected for more than his talent with the soccer ball but for his brainchild that is sure to live way after his gone. Kaizer Motaung is the epitomy of black excellence and I wish he could be respected as such while he’s still here.
Here’s hoping legends like Kaizer Motaung get their due respect while they’re still alive and can pass knowledge to us