Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Vice-Chancellor and Principal with Dumisani Chauke, the Spar Proteas Assistant Coach, as well as HoD of Sport at the Ga-Rankuwa Campus.
In his tribute speech, Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal said:
Netball was invented by the English one hundred and thirty something years ago; we are told. But I take it with a calabash, not just a pinch, of salt. Historically, the English have been one of the nations to have had the temerity not only to declare themselves great – as in Great Britain – but sometimes the English have exhibited the tendency of thinking that before they see or do something themselves, such a thing never existed. Consider for example, their “great discoveries” such as “Victoria Falls”, “Table Mountain”, “East London” and “King William’s Town”, to mention but a few. As if these places did not exist before they were seen and named by the English!
But one day soon, the history of the Netball game may have to be re-written. What if, actually, Netball was invented by African women between and amongst the tall and evergreen trees of the Congo rainforest? What if, contrary to vogue and popular opinion, the first Netball game was not played at Madame Ostenburg's College, England, in 1895, but the first ever Netball game in the world was played three hundred and something years ago, amidst the tall Baobab and the Whistling Thorn trees of Timbuktu? What if, that inaugural Netball game was played under the watchful eyes of the mercurial Queen Ramonda of Wakanda? What if it was played in the presence the fearless Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia? What if it was sponsored by the unstoppable Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and with the indomitable Queen Nzinga of Angola in attendance? My hunch is that these majestic African warrior leaders had some influence on the invention of Netball before Netball was Netball. One day soon, it may be revealed, that the original rules of Netball were conceptualised at the mouth of the river Nile and perfected amidst the breath-taking landscapes of Thohoyandou and ka-Malamulele.
You see, as Chinua Achebe once asserted, “until the lionesses have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lioness in our midst! Ladies a gentleman we have a history maker in the house! Her name is Dumisani Chauke: sharpshooter, thought leader, team leader, strategist, Netball ambassador extraordinaire and one of the greatest netball players ever to come out of this beautiful country.
And to you Dumisani Chauke, we say, your time has come.
It is neither surprising nor accidental, that after spending some time in the wilderness working and studying in some ordinary universities, Dumisani made the only rational choice available to such an intelligent person like her. She moved from good to great, she moved to the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Like a stray piece of steel or iron, Dumisani gravitated towards the most powerful magnetic field in the South African Higher Education sector today, the Tshwane University of Technology.
At TUT, academic excellence, and sporting prowess overlap, intersect, embrace, and combine. The result of that combination is the incubation of the most resilient cohort of academics and the production of the most future-ready graduates in this country today. Such is the future-readiness of our graduates that by the time they complete their qualifications, they are ready to take the job market by the scruff of the neck.
Which brings us back to the matter at hand; the matter of one hell of a sports manager, an exceptional sporting science academic, athlete par excellence, ambassador of the Laureas Sport for Good Foundation, ambassador of Brand South Africa, and most importantly, Spar Proteas assistant coach since 2019.
And so we say one more time, Dumisani Chauke, your time has come.
Thirty-seven days from now, one of the greatest moments, if not the greatest moment in your net-balling career so far - will commence. Sixteen netballing nations will compete for the Netball World Cup 2023.
They say it is historic that that the Netball World Cup will be held on the African continent, for the first time since the tournament was inaugurated in 1963. But I say that the real history will be made when the first African nation wins the cup. The nation that will win the cup, will neither be neither be Malawi nor Zimbabwe. It will not be New Zealand and it will not be Uganda. The World Netball Cup 2023 will be won by Mzantsi. It can only be taken by South Africa.
Dumisani Chauke, your time has come! Our charge to you and your team therefore, assistant coach, consists of four little words: Bring the cup home!
They say we should be content that the South African Netball Squad is ranked as one of the top five Netballing nations in the world – thanks to the tremendous effort put by Dumisani Chauke (assistant coach) and Norma Plummer (head coach) and their squad since 2019. But I say no; we shall not be content with being in the top 5. We shall only be content when Captain Bongi Msomi and Vice-Captain Carla Pretorius lift the Netball World Cup trophy on that beautiful Sunday of the 6th of August 2023.
And when that trophy is thrust into the blue South African skies on that fateful Sunday in August 2023, our own Dumisani Chauke will be smiling from ear to ear, standing tall behind the squad. On that day, the proper and correct history of world Netball will be restored, and Africa will move from the margins to the centre. Then Queen Ramonda of Wakanda, with the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia, and Umkhabayi ka Jama, together with Queen Nzinga of Angola, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, Mantatise Kgosi ya Batlokwa, together with N’waXikukwani and Khatisa Chabalala will all be smiling down upon us from the African heavens.
I say Dumisani Chauke, your time has come!
But when I say “your time” I do not merely mean the narrow time of the clock, I do not mean the time as set in the Gregorian Calendar which has been imposed upon us for centuries. By “your time”, I do not mean the beginning and the end of the 2023 Netball World Cup. When I say “your time” I am talking about the unique opportunity you have to let your life impact on all the lives which overlap with yours and vice versa. By “your time” I am talking about the long and continuing season of grace that was unleashed into your life ever since you started playing soccer at Magangeni Primary school ka-Malamulele.
By “your time” I do not mean you as an individual. I mean you as an embodiment of the noble aspirations of the netball team you lead. I mean you as the epitome of the best that the Tshwane University of Technology can be. I mean you as inspirer, motivator and influencer of your compatriots and the people of the world. Yes, there will be toil, sweat and tears. But nothing can stop you now.
Even in the unlikely event of the Spar Proteas not winning the 2023 world cup, Dumisani and the team must know that each and every one of the 6000 workers at TUT and each and every one of the 59 thousand students will forever be proud of your gallant effort. For us, any losses you may suffer along the way, will be temporary setbacks in your unstoppable march to victory. To us you are a winners already. We know that. And the world is about to know that. On the 6th of August, the world will definitely know that.
Dumisani Chauke, your time has come!
N’wa-Chauke xa humba, famba u ya va komba xa ncila wa bulubulu! Go out there and show them the thing of the tail of bull-bull!