Johannesburg - Isaac “Shakes” Kungwane was an entertainer on the pitch and off it.
Former teammates, family, friends and people in the soccer fraternity came together on Monday morning to share humorous stories and memories at his memorial service in the Randburg Methodist Church.
Mark Williams, a former teammate, said playing with Shakes was fun.
“When I went to the hospital I could see my friend would not make it, but even on his deathbed he was telling jokes,” he said.
Williams said he remembered coming to South Africa and telling Shakes that he was going to get him a contract with a European team when he returned from China on condition that he lost 3kg.
“Three months later, when I returned, Shaggy had put on an extra 6 kilos,” said Williams.
Former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana teammate Doctor Khumalo said he was devastated when he heard that Kungwane had died.
“People misunderstood my relationship with Shakes.
“Shakes was the kind of person (with whom) you would have an argument now, and, before he got to the door, he would make a joke and things would be back to normal,” said Khumalo.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said Kungwane had made a positive contribution in his days as a player with Kaizer Chiefs and later in his career as a football analyst.
“He brought kasi flavour to the show,” said Mbalula.
“Shakes is a reflection of who we are as a people of South Africa. He is ‘a rose that grew from concrete’. He is a reflection of a young person who strived to be better,” said Mbalula, alluding to a poem by late American rapper Tupac Shakur, as well as a book on the hip hop artist.
His childhood friend Percy Ndaba said Kungwane would often tell them what a bad team they had and how useless their defensive line-up was.
“Shakes always reminded us that we were privileged to have him as a teammate,” said Ndaba.
He said he wanted to remind mourners that Shakes was not only funny and talented, but also a spiritual man.
“People don’t know that Shakes had a pastor in him,” said Ndaba.
He said Shakes would also preach the Gospel to people.
Ndaba remembered seeing the former Chiefs and Manning Rangers player rush to preach to people.
The funeral will be held on Saturday in Brits, North West.