SA Rugby on Monday said was it was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former struggle rugby stalwart and South African Minster of Sport and Recreation, Makhenkesi Arnold Stofile. He was 71.
Makhenkesi Stofile was an accomplished scrumhalf at Newell High School in Port Elizabeth and captained the University of Fort Hare first XV at both scrumhalf and wing in his playing days. In 1969 and 1970 he played for Border in inter-provincial tournaments as a hooker. He also coached junior and club rugby.
He was also a leading administrator and served as a provincial and national sports administrator for more than 20 years, serving rugby as a member of the Victoria East Rugby Union, the South Eastern District Rugby Union, and the pre-rugby unity South African Rugby Union (SARU).
He studied theology and in 1975 was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa.
In 1981 he visited New Zealand on behalf of the Anti-Tours Coalition and again in 1985 where he led a successful campaign against a planned All Black tour of South Africa that year. His efforts caused him to be detained for four months on his return home and in 1986 he was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for “terrorism”. He was released in a “gesture of goodwill”, after serving three years.
He became Minister of Sport and Recreation in 2004, a position he held until 2010.
“I would like to pass on the condolences of the South African rugby community to the family and friends of the Rev. Stofile,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, President of SA Rugby.
“He made an invaluable contribution to the Struggle through his work in the sporting arena and was a real rugby man. We have lost another hero of the struggle.”
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