CAPE TOWN – He is a hero in the non-racial sporting fraternity, and now the time has come to pay tribute to Fagmie Solomons.
The apartheid-era non-racial organisation SA Rugby Union (Saru) amalgamated with the whites-only SA Rugby Board and many others following unity in March 1992.
But in recent years the Saru group has reconvened as the Saru Sacos Legends, which will host a gala dinner to celebrate Solomons’ career at the College of Cape Town (old Hewat College) in Crawford, Cape Town on Saturday evening.
A top-class scrumhalf and flyhalf during the 1970s and 80s, Solomons also excelled at cricket, playing for the non-racial Western Province Cricket Board.
He captained the WP Rugby Union’s team, and eventually became the Saru national captain in 1987.
“What happened is that it’s about telling your own story. After the late Salie Fredericks memorial, there was a discussion with the Saru Sacos Legends, and it was decided that we are going to honour our own guys now – Saru Legends.
“I was the Saru captain after Salie Fredericks, and I represented Western Province cricket as well, which is why they came to me, in a nutshell,” Solomons told Independent Media.
“I’ve always been a people’s person and team person. It’s an historic first for the Saru Legends, and I’m dedicating this event to all the deceased administrators, management, rugby players, and above all, the spectators who came week-in and week-out to watch us.
“That is what brought the best out of me, and for the players to compete with each other. As players, we were competitive, and I know even if the other player is better than me, I used to practice extra hard during the week to become better.”
Solomons played alongside many stars of the non-racial sporting landscape, and is excited to see many of his former teammates and friends on Saturday night.
“In 1977/78, I was selected for both the Western Province rugby and cricket teams, and I was born in 1957. In 1980, I became the captain of the WP Rugby Union team, and then afterwards I was offered the captaincy of the WP cricket team as well by the late Hassan Howa,” said Solomons.
“But I said no, because I mean how can you captain Lefty Adams, Rushdie Magiet, Saait Magiet, Braima Isaacs… They were icons.
“Rushdie is going to umrah the next day and can’t come (on Saturday night), but Saait, Beresford Williams, Thelo Wakefield, Angelo Carolissen from Boland will also be there.
“Then Peter Jooste, Kaballie (Francois Davids), and the other guys who played Saru with me.
“I quit rugby in 1989. Officially I retired in 1986 from rugby. I quit provincial cricket in 1985 because I opened my sports shop.
“But when I announced that I quit rugby in 1986, Noortjie Khan didn’t want to accept that! And I found myself playing for another three years until 1989.”
* For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, call 073 199 0542 or 061 511 5540, and email [email protected]