By Fahdia Msaka
The first annual Tottos Memorial open netball tournament was held in Makhanda on 24 February to commemorate the late local netball stalwart Gary du Plessis.
The chairperson of the Makana Netball Association, Sanel Sobahle, said the tournament would allow the league to get a sense of how many netball clubs are available in Makana for the company. “The top two teams of the Makana league would then go on to play in the district championships,” said Sobahle.
Gary du Plessis was born and bred in Makhand and was popularly known as Tottos. He died in December 2022. In 2004, he became one of the first male netball players for the Rhodes netball team. The Rhodes male team went on to produce several official players. Tottos stopped playing competitively some time before his death owing to an injury, but he still contributed by coaching and training young and talented males.
Netball coach Yoliswa Plaatjie said, “He was unique and always made himself available for every match”. She described him as a passionate netball lover and a role model for many male netball players. They often called him “oupa”, a term of endearment in Afrikaans for grandfather.
Belinda Botha, treasurer of the Makana Netball Association, paid tribute to the tournament’s sponsors – Rhodes University, Buco, who sponsored the water, gas, and the braai and Legends Cash and Carry, who supported the cool drinks. Botha said that all funds generated from food sold at the tournament would be used to fund the Makana Netball Association.
The tournament had three categories: senior ladies, under 19 girls and the men’s club. The netball clubs who participated were Rhodes A, Jacaranda Aces, Seven Stars, Fort England Hospital, Rhodes C, Juventus, Jacaranda Aces under 19’s, Ocean Nets, Vukani, Rhodes Falcons, and Flaming Stars. Students could enter the tournament without a fee, but to join the league, they must pay R300 per team.
Rhodes A came first in the senior ladies category, Juventus won first place in the girls’ under 19,s and Rhodes Falcons won first in the men’s category.