Alex resident Oupa Tsiane, a former journalist, soccer administrator, football commentator and now banker, pays his respects to the fallen football star Isaac ‘Shakes’ Kungwane.
He was the real epitome of what is called “Gomora”, Ekasi lamampela”, “GaMampjane” and “Dark City”, better known as Alex. He was suave, street – wise and a “Son of the Soil”, but when mother nature calls and Heaven beckons, one has to unfortunately oblige.
On 28 May, the country collectively heaved heavily as they heard about the football entertainer par excellence and former Kaizer Chiefs’ midfielder Isaac “Shakes” Kungwane’s passing on after experiencing diabetes complications. Alexandra grieved, and the country mourned.
Only 43 years old, married and a father of three, “Shakes” was employed as a soccer analyst and commentator by SuperSport where he was affectionately known as “Kasi Flavour”. Astute and knowledgeable, he was the darling of the masses and was a well sought – after public figure both in and outside football.
Condolences came from the country’s highest office, football head honchos and ordinary man on the street, “Shakes” was revered by both friends and foes for his wizardry and control and understanding of the township lingo, even on television!
Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League chairman, Irvin ‘Iron Duke’ Khoza, who was born and grew up in “Gomora” and knew the Kungwane family very well, including his mother Ausi Granny, was distraught when he spoke about the boy who literally grew up under him.
“He was my son,” said Khoza. “ I monitored his meteoric rise from an amateur football to the professional ranks up until recently as a soccer commentator and analyst.” Kungwane started his career at Alex Blackpool, a team the ‘Iron Duke’ made his administrative debut at, and he saw Kungwane grow and mature as a footballer. He had a stint at Jomo Cosmos until he appeared for Amakhosi where he made a name for himself.
An avowed Pirates supporter although he made his name with Kaizer Chiefs (sorry Bra K), “Msheskesheke” was a comical figure on and off the field and enjoyed cult status, including being a master in sartorial elegance.
He was known to jovially ask for appearance fees wherever he was and at functions he was invited and attended and cited his popularity and fame as the reasons, including playing
for Alex Sundowns in the local masters’ league!
‘Shakes’, like Khoza and the late Leepile Taunyane, is a symbol of a a township well – known for producing quality leadership and their repertoire in associating themselves with their community.
The good thing though, about Kasi Flavour, was that he knew where he came from and never deserted his own people in the midst of fame and fortune, and passed on among his community.