Tackling racism in sport is like looking for a needle in a haystack
Dear readers, it’s a distressing and oppressive duty, but one which I have to perform in thus alerting you about certain ills and evils in our diverse society and communities.
As it stands, there seems to be many months, if not years of fiery trials and sacrifice ahead of us to address and arrest the seeming unending blatant racism and prejudices so prevalent in many a domestic sporting discipline.
To those calling the shots at the sports governing body, the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), charged with the sovereign functions of legislation and their subjects, yours truly looks with encouragement for guidance and support, which may enable all of us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting elements of a troubled community.
Almost two months have lapsed and the rugby loving public are yet to hear a single word from the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) as to what steps were taken against a local rugby player of European descent who racially abused and humiliated a darkish hide opponent during a high profile club championship match.
The accused, Theo Coetzee, going by the notorious nickname of ‘Kwaaitjie’, has in the meantime been made the “sacrificial lamb” just to camouflage a potential time bomb.
Poor Kwaaitjie has been slapped with a three-year suspension by his club Wanderers after the issue was widely reported by New Era Sport, the only media house that seems not to turn a blind eye to blatant racism, so freely practised within the predominantly white sport codes.
As the presiding body, it remains incumbent upon the NRU to effect sanctions against Kwaaitjie for bringing the game of rugby into disrepute with his unprovoked antics.
Given the severity of the offence, one would have expected the men in blue suits at Lichtenstein-Strasse to pronounce themselves on this nauseating dark chapter in Namibian sport to in the process send out a strong message to ward off would-be offenders.
Needless to remind you that the NSC also wrote a strongly worded letter to the NRU demanding a thorough investigation into the ugly racial debacle – only to be met with silence by the self-proclaimed untouchable pharaohs at the NRU.
Elsewhere, Windhoek Harriers, a social fitness club and subsidiary of the reputable Ramblers Sports Club, were recently in the news for all the wrong reasons after one of their long serving members stood accused of racism.
It should be noted that Ramblers were the first white club to welcome athletes of colour into its stable amidst heavy protests from some the club’s conservative members.
The fingered sports official at the centre of the storm, Susan Gordon, resigned after she was cited for having racially abused a black female runner at the annual Nedbank Namibia sponsored Citi Run.
Subsequently, Nedbank summarily withdrew its sponsorship after the saga unfolded but not entirely surprising their partners Windhoek Harriers showed the financial institution the middle finger by choosing the disgraced Gordon for the best administrator of the year award. What does this tell us?
Seriously, it goes beyond any comprehension as to how a sports official embroiled in such serious allegations would be rewarded with such an august accolade.
Would yours truly be in the wrong in concluding this is a crystal clear demonstration that those at the helm of Windhoek Harriers, including its principality Ramblers, approve racial abuse? I’m just asking. I rest my case.