Multi-award-winning national boxing legend and former anti-apartheid sports activist, Thembi Magwaca, from Langa, has been hailed a people’s person, mentor and a mother figure.
Mam’ uMagwaca, 71, died after a long battle with cancer and will be buried today, Wednesday July 15. 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 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,” he said.
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.
“In 1976 she broke into the multinational sport,” Klaas said.
“That’s when her career as an official sparked.
“She was the first women to be a ring official in SA,” he said.
Former two-time International Boxing Federation (IBF) super featherweight champion Mzonke Fana said the boxing family, particularly the province, which has a shortage of women in the sport, has lost a mother.
“She was a great mother of the sport of boxing from amateur to professional. She’s been up and down to make sure that boxing is alive, she was not just an official but a mother that talked and walked boxing,” Fana said.