Lest we forget
The forty two years of our local derby carries memories of excitement sadness and a display of sporting talent ever witnessed in South African football. For the many that have participated in various ways, the on-the-field battle results between two teams that carry a wealth of history by far surpasses any stored and preserved memory in comparison to others.
It is for such that playing heroes and villains are revered even long after resting their boots and wiping the sweat of drama off their brows. Whilst the derby continues to rule the local soccer scene and social calendar, it however remains susceptible to something more profound and indelible like a tragic loss of life before, during or after kickoff!
Today we remember one fateful eleventh day of April in 2001 when forty three passionate supporters lost their lives at the then Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. Like a ton of bricks falling from a giant truck, the tragic drama on the north eastern side of the majestic Ellis Park Stadium punctuated the anticipated clash of titans shortly after kickoff and sent rippling shockwaves of despair that still linger in our thoughts to date.
Whilst we may all claim that we have moved on, the reality however negates such purely because of our humaneness that continues to love those we have grown to know and share different episodes of our lives. The saying “time heals” therefore remains a floating expression that may not qualify the extent at which we may wish to forget the effect of tragic moments in our lives.
That is all the more reason for us to pause momentarily from our routines and rather concede that it is necessary to continuously bow before GOD with humility and thank HIM for His abundant grace that hovers over our pain and guides our thoughts to be still in the midst of what only HE can design in our lives.
I believe HIS design in 2001 was that of interrupting our comfort so that we can return to HIM for healing. I also believe we have since grown to be more administratively astute from the lessons of the fateful date to even boast about successfully handling mega-populated events like the Fifa 2010 World Cup, and many others that ended without any tragic loss of life.
May I therefore join the millions of South Africans in commemorating the lives of those whose only hope was to be a part of an exciting on-the-field drama that has characterized and qualified the Kaizer Chiefs versus Orlando Pirates clash as a never-to-be-missed football legacy in our country.
May I direct our pain to a powerful GOD that designs both life and death in manner that only HE can and knows by seeking HIS love to wipe our tears this day.
May I on behalf of the Management, Players, Staff and Supporters of Kaizer Chiefs express my sympathies to affected families and relatives by presenting them in prayer of healing to the Almighty.
I pray that we forgive and bury our inclination to reopen old wounds by conceding that GOD acted out HIS dominant WILL over our lives and that HE may therefore WILL it in HIS heart to help us find peace and closure.
Kaizer Motaung (Mr.)