One of the stalwarts responsible for professional boxing development in the province, Mzoli Madyaka, has died after a long illness.
Madyaka died at his NU4 Mdantsane home aged 84.
Madyaka is renowned for being the first manager who arranged for local boxers to turn professional when local boxing structures had no professional wing.
In 1965, he took four amateur boxers to Durban where they graduated to the professional ranks.
Among those boxers was Lawrence Ndzondo who graduated to the paid ranks in the featherweight division.
Ndzondo described the trip to Durban as memorable with them winning all their bouts to usher in a new era for the local boxing landscape.
“I vividly recall fighting for 40 cents which was a lot of money then,” he said.
Other boxers who fought in the bill, were Stanley Toni, Bisto Dunjwa and Allister Mahashe.
After the historic occasion, more boxers vied to fight for pay, leading to Eric Gabelana organising the first-ever professional boxing tournament in the region towards the end of 1965.
Madyaka’s son Thobile described his father as an astute businessman who started off by selling clothes as a hawker.
“He later opened several businesses at the Mdantsane Highway taxi rank where he also bought a building to house his numerous businesses,” Madyaka jnr said.
His interaction with people helped secure lucrative fights for his boxers, especially those training at International Boxing Club in Duncan Village where Thami Momvethe was the manager.
Madyaka also played a crucial role in politics when he availed his businesses to serve as meeting places for the ANC.
Madyaka will be buried at his Mdantsane home after a funeral service conducted by Holy Cross Church at All Purpose Centre Hall in Wilsonia.
He is survived by 29 children and countless grandchildren, according to Thobile.