UWC honours struggle poet and sports administrator at its Summer Graduation
University of the Western Cape (UWC) conferred an honorary doctorate to
struggle poet, novelist and writer, James Matthews, during the March
Graduation ceremony on Monday, 11 March 2013.
University will celebrate the capping of 2838 students during the
nine-night event where PhDs will be conferred to 34 students, while 153
students will receive their Masters Degrees.
will confer another honorary doctorate to former sports administrator,
Hassan Howa, founding member of the now defunct SA Cricket Board of
Control (SACBOC) who worked resolutely to promote the sport among the
oppressed, on 18 March 2013.
The Chancellor, The Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba will be capping these students before their friends and families.
an artist and poet of note, was born in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap region in
May 1925. After he discontinued his schooling at Trafalgar High School,
where he was in Standard 8 (Grade 10), he began writing and his first
writings were published in 1946 at the age of 17.
Soon, worked as a journalist, and over the years, Matthews contributed to many national newspapers such as the now defunct Golden City Post, The Cape Times, Drum, and later to the independent community newspaper, Muslim News.
His first published collection of poetry Cry Rage
(co-authored with Gladys Thomas and published in 1972) became the first
collection of poetry to be banned by the Apartheid regime, and most of
his later publications were banned as well. In 1976, Matthews was
detained at Victor Verster prison near Paarl and was repeatedly denied a
was determined to pursue his chosen path as an independent thinker,
writer and cultural worker despite official repression and harassment.
His brand of political writing powerfully articulated the demands and
longing of South Africans at the height of apartheid repression.
of his most famous works include: Cry Rage (1972), Black Voices Shout
(1974) Poisoned Well and Other Delights (1991). Matthews established
Realities, a publishing house, to create a publishing vehicle for young
writers. Matthews turned 83 in May of 2012.
in District Six in 1922, Howa matriculated in Trafalgar High School and
worked for a family business. Having lived in a community that was a
victim of discrimination and racism – and where maintaining a sense of
dignity and sanity in the face of oppressive social conditions, sports
played a vital role – Howa also played amateur cricket with other boys.
he took up the challenge of cricket administration and the promotion of
the sport. He was a founder member of the South African Cricket Board
of Control (SACBOC) in 1947 and worked resolutely to promote the sport
among the oppressed.
the country began to feel the grand impact of the Apartheid government
on all spheres of life, the right to sport became increasingly
prescribed, and Howa found it impossible to remain quiet in the face of
such injustices. Howa then refused to cooperate with the
apartheid-endorsed cricket establishments in the Western Cape.
argued for the creation of an over-arching body that would transcend
all boundaries to pursue non-racist sport, and he was instrumental in
the founding of the South African Council on Sports (SACOS), where he
lobbied for the expulsion of South Africa from international
SACBOC he led a fearless campaign throughout the 1970s against “white”
cricket. Howa galvanized the support of communities and community
organizations in South Africa, and with the support of international
organizations, the campaign succeeded in ensuring that the Springboks
were banned from participation in international cricket.
constant harassment and persecution by the security police, who kept a
close watch on his movements and activities, Howa never relented on his
fundamental purpose and mission. The boycott campaign eventually led to
the isolation of apartheid sport as part of the international political
campaign to bring to an end to the apartheid regime.
independent and unbending in his fundamental belief in a non-racial
society, Hassan Howa never gave up his dream that one day all children,
whatever their class origin, colour or creed, would have the same
opportunities to play sport and to represent their country. He devoted
his life to the attainment of the noble goal of non-racism in sport.
He died on March 12, 1992.
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