Tributes pour in for Cape boxing pioneer

Hamba Kahle . . . Thembi Magwaca paved the way for female boxing administrators in the city.

Mam’ uMagwaca, 70, died last week Friday after a long battle with cancer.

Tributes came pouring in from around the boxing fraternity as those who had been touched by her support, work and love for her craft reflected on her legacy.

To many, she was a giant for boxing in general – and a brave fighter advocating for women’s boxing on a national stage.

Her son, Alfred, said she was a sports legend, the first black female international boxing judge in the country, but more importantly, she was a mother, a sister, a grandmother and a great grandmother.

“She was a person first in society. She was in the SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO) helping our communities, she was a part of the sports council, health committee etc. All of this came from her contribution to boxing. We had scouts in Langa. She was known a lot as a people’s person.

“And that rubbed off on me. I learnt it from her because when we were young we would go with her to meetings although we were kids so we would play outside. She’s been active in boxing since the early 1970s with her brother James Magwaca,” he said.

Magwaca said his mother fought for boxing, in particular women’s boxing.

He said there was a time when the Monwabisi Hall in Langa was solely for boxing, however, as time went, the hall was turned into a multi-complex which allowed other sports but excluded boxing. She came in and that changed as boxing was then given the green light at the Langa sports complex.

Boxing SA co-ordinator, Mickey Klaas said he first got in touch with Magwaca in 1972 when he was still a junior boxer at Luyolo Boxing Club in Gugulethu.

Klaas said Magwaca was still a supporter of Harlem Boys Boxing Club in Langa at the time as her brother was also an amateur boxer.