Tributes pour in for Collegians stalwart

Former Gardens RFC First Team coaches, Unchain The Plain founder member Mark Skriker, left and Magadien Jappie.

Friends, family and former rivals have paid their last respects to Collegians RFC stalwart Magadien Jappie, who died on Monday, August 28, after being admitted to Victoria hospital in Wynberg, on Sunday.

As messages of condolences and support are still pouring in from all over, Collegians club president Shamilah Sulayman fondly remembers a man she calls an absolute legend, a gentleman and a beautiful soul,

“He certainly deserves the recognition, Alghamdulilah. May Allah be pleased with our beloved friend and brother. Ameen,” she said

“I knew him before I became an avid Collegians supporter way back in the 80s, as we attended Trafalgar High School, and were in the same grade, though in different classes, because back then we had English First Language and Afrikaans First Language classes. We were also both school athletes, so we shared that space too, so we became friends from the age of 13.

Old friends… Collegians club president Shamilah Sulayman with Magadien Jappie at Florida Park, in Ravensmead, in June, for the club’s encounter against Bo-Kaap rival SK Walmer.

“Magadien Jappie was indeed a stalwart and an absolute legend of our club, Collegians RFC. He played his entire rugby career at the club, while also representing WP and SARU under the SACOS banner,” she said.

Something special was about to happen when Magadien Jappie, pictured here during his glory days, got the ball.

“He was a visionary on the rugby park, and certainly ahead of his time in the way that he goose-stepped opposition players, cutting through them like a hot knife through butter. It was always magical to watch.

Visionary… Collegians stalwart Magadien Jappie

“You always knew that something special was about to happen when he got the ball.

“Magadien and his centre-pairing partner, Shahied Birch, were on a completely phenomenal level back then. We were all hugely privileged and honoured to have witnessed Magadien’s prowess on the park.

“Off the field of play, he was an absolute gentleman, and a beautiful soul, who always had a smile and time for a chat and laughter with any and all. Everyone loved him.

“He became ill a few months ago, and was attending hospital for several tests, after complaining of much pain. We believe that eventually he was diagnosed with liver cancer.”

Although coaching at Gardens RFC in recent years, Sulayman says, it was his dream to retire at Collegians and to be able to coach his son, the club’s First Team fullback, Aboubaker Jappie.

“He also recently told me that no matter where he coached, he always told the players about Collegians. And players and coaches have verified this. He held Collegians’ name in the highest esteem always and flew our red, white and blue flag high wherever he found himself. A true Coll ambassador,” she said.

“His impact on rugby was huge! Every child who watched him from Green Point Track to City Park to Kreefgat in Lentegeur, aspired to play like him,” she said.

“He would easily and emphatically have given any of those provincial or national Springbok players of the time, and beyond, a run for their money. He was pure class on any park,” she said.

Magadien Jappie with fellow Collegians legend Yaghya “Diff” Sakier

“It was also incredibly beautiful to see so many former and current players from different clubs at his janaaza, as well as WPRFU representatives. This is merely testimony to Magadien’s legacy’s impact on all who came into contact with him, and who respected his craft and person.

Unchain The Plain founder member Mark Skriker and Jappie were the first team coaches at Gardens between 2020 and 2022.

“I met Jappie around 2005 when he was appointed as a player-coach at Caledonian Roses RFC. We knew at the time that he was a legend but what an asset he was to the club. A team man in every sense of the word.

He was brought onboard at Callies by Asmodien Jabaar, son of the legendary Cassiem Jabaar aka Cat. At the time he was at an advanced age in terms of rugby where many people consider retirement. Before that he played at the highest level of club rugby for Collegians RFC. However, because of his affinity for fitness he could still play the game and make an impact. I always tell my children that I saw him towards the end of his illustrious career and I played with him and what a talent he was even at the twilight of his career. I can only imagine how good this man was in his prime and the heinous apartheid laws robbed us of the opportunity to see this legend playing at the highest level. He had all the attributes viz skill, vision, spatial awareness and excellent distribution skills,” Skriker said.

“Besides his absolute rugby ability, he was a wonderful human being that impressed everyone with his humility and mannerism. He always had time for everyone and he added value to all of our lives. He brought a sense of calmness and wisdom to proceedings and he was wonderful at nurturing younger players. He was a rugby champion and was loved by everyone who loved the game. It was a bonus that he was such a beautiful human being.”