SA Rugby remembers Mluleki George as a ‘colossus’ and ‘sport bridge builder’

06 January 2021 - 14:50 By Tiisetso Malepa
Mluleki George (pictured) was appointed as a board member of the South African Rugby Union‚ now SA Rugby‚ in 2003.
Mluleki George (pictured) was appointed as a board member of the South African Rugby Union‚ now SA Rugby‚ in 2003.
Image: Arena Holdings Archives

Mluleki George was a “colossus”‚ a “sport bridge builder” and an essential figure in the negotiation process to unity of the fractured sports landscape at the time when South Africa transitioned from Apartheid rule to democracy.

This was how George‚ an ardent rugby supporter and administrator who died on Monday at the age of 72‚ was remembered by the South African Rugby (SA Rugby) and across the country.

News reports are that George died as a result of contracting Covid-19.

“He was genuinely one of the iconic figures of our historic sports unification process‚ and we know of course that rugby was closest to his heart‚” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

“On behalf of the South African rugby community‚ I want to offer our most sincere condolences to the George family and his wide circle of friends.

“Mluleki was a colossus‚ a ‘sport bridge builder’ and a calming figure during a very turbulent time in the fight for freedom and the ensuing transition period to a democratic South Africa.”

George served as vice-president of the South African Rugby Football Union (Sarfu) from 1993 until 1998‚ and was also a member of the International Rugby Board from 1994 to 1997.

He was appointed as a board member of the South African Rugby Union‚ now SA Rugby‚ in 2003.

Alexander remembered George as a selfless man who gave everything he had to the fight for social justice.

“He was very principled man‚ a skilful negotiator and will always be remembered for his unselfish fight for human rights and the dignity of all people in South Africa‚” said Alexander.

George’s passing comes as the South African sporting fraternity is still trying to come to terms with deaths last week of former Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene and former Kaizer Chiefs captain Johannes “Ryder” Mofokeng.

George occupied a number of leadership positions in sports administration and government and was an astute politician who did time on Robben Island as a political prisoner.

He was the president of the Border Rugby Union until his arrest in 1976. He was sentenced to five years on Robben Island in 1978.

George was a founder member of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983 and one of the founding members of the National Sports Council (NSC) in 1988.

He was also a founder and executive member of National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) in 1989.


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