- On this day two years ago, rugby legend Welile Nkohla passed away
- His successful career was honoured by the rugby union
- He died at age 71
On 23 July, 2017, Welile James Nkohla, also known as ‘Bomza’, died at 71 years of age in Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, after a long battle with cancer. He was the captain of the African Springboks.
Bomza was born on 22 February, 1946. He started playing provincial rugby at the age of 21. In 1968, he was the captain for the African Springbok Rugby playing against the SA Coloured National XV.
This was followed by six more tests between 1968 and 1969. In the August Test, he contributed a try to the African Springboks’ 22-9 victory over the Coloured Springboks.
In 1973, Oriental - by all accounts the second-oldest African rugby club in Port Elizabeth - together with eight others broke away from the SA African Board to establish the Kwazakhele Rugby Union (KWARU), that subsequently joined the non-racial SA Rugby Union.
As a member of KWARU, he joined the SA Cup Competition, in which he led the team with distinction.
According to Mark Alexander, President of the South African Rugby Union, Nkohla was a legend of black rugby in the Eastern Cape.
In 2004, he received the South African Rugby President’s Award for his contribution to rugby.
Ten years later, Welile Nkohla and the other living national captains were honoured for their role played in South African rugby by having their handprints cast in bronze at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town. Welile Nkohla left behind his wife, Bella, and six children.
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