Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Hon. Nathi Mthethwa A (MP) note with sadness the passing away of tennis legend, David Samaai
Minister of Sports, Arts & Culture, Hon. Nathi Mthethwa, has learned with sadness about the passing away of one of the prolific Tennis players to ever emerge from this country - Mr. David Samaai. David Salaam, dubbed the man from Wimbledon, shook the foundations of South African apartheid sport, when he qualified for Wimbledon and was actually invited to participate.
The apartheid government of the day, refused to endorse his participation, thus he was only allowed to participate not as a competitor but as a guest. Although he went on to win the tournament, he couldn't be declared the winner as he entered as a guest and was considered an informal player.
Samaai's passport was then revoked by the apartheid government making it difficult for him to travel and compete with the intention of ending his Tennis career. The democratic government however honored Samaai, whilst still alive and sought to correct the injustices of the past, by conferring to him the legendary Andrew Mlangeni Green Jacket. The Department with the Green Jacket award seek to redress the injustices of the past by awarding national colours to those athletes, who due to the colour of their skin were denied the necessary support and were discriminated against by the policies of the day and thus preventing them from realising their full potential and the recognition they deserved.
"The late David Samaai, will forever represent the triumph of the human spirit against all adversity and is indeed an exceptional role model of the youth of our country especially as we continue to commemorate Youth Month which includes June 16 as National Youth Day. The late David Samaai should serve as a true inspiration for our future generations. I therefore take this opportunity to express my sadness and heartfelt condolences to the family of David Samaai, Tennis fraternity and the sporting community at large. The loss of a person of David Samaai's attributes and character is indeed a great loss to the country as a whole", indicated Minister Nathi Mthethwa
Spokesperson for Sports, Arts and Culture Department
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