By Chris Totobela
This year has not been a good one for Makhanda’s sports fraternity, as the town has lost so many great sports icons. Another great boxing icon has now fallen. Fundisile “Kid Zanta” Kralo died recently at the age of 76 after a long illness. His memorial service will be held on 7 June at the Noluthando Hall in Joza, and his funeral will be on Saturday 10 June, also at the Noluthando Hall.
Kralo was part of the South African team that went to Italy in 1968 – called the Kudus in the apartheid era. One of his greatest fights was against Christopher “Chris Kid” Dlamini in the flyweight division.
Ward Two councillor and former colleague, Ramie Xonxa of the ANC, told Grocott’s Mail that as a result of the competitiveness of both boxers, this fight had to be rescheduled because the judges could not separate the two great fighters.
The rematch of this particular bout took place in Gauteng, where Kralo, Makhanda’s golden boy, emerged victorious and went on to represent the country in Italy, where they returned with success. Kralo’s other great fight was against the late Reubin “Kid Zion” Matewu in 1974 at the Centenary Hall, New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. This turned out to be a four-round bout, with Kralo unfortunately losing on points.
Kralo did not disappear from the boxing scene after his retirement. He formed the legendary Fundisile Boxing Club, that produced good boxers like the Siphiwo Patosi, Tap Tap Vubela, the late Bulelani Ndwayana, Sakhiwo Duruwe, Ndumiso Thwathwa, and Msebenzi Stofile.
In 2018, Grocott’s Mail reported that Kralo was honoured by dozens of people on Mandela Day for his outstanding contribution to boxing. Throughout the day, amateur boxers took to the boxing ring across from Kralo’s home. Additionally, volunteers repainted the boxing legend’s house, and installed new doors, a new bed, and made repairs around his house.
“Kid Zanta was one the smallest flyweights in the country, but his work rate was very high and he was very talented. The Italian crowd was so impressed with his boxing skills being such a small boxer,” reminisced Xonxa.
Xonxa also sent his heartfelt condolences to the Kralo family. “When I spoke to his children, especially Unathi, I explained to them the role that their father played in the development of boxing, not just here in Makhanda, but in the whole country. They should know how important their father is to the sport of boxing. It is not just them who have lost. He is a loss to the entire nation,” Xonxa added.