Former ASA Development Officer Boycie Ntlwane passes away
Tributes are pouring in for late former athletics administrator Boycie Ntlwane who passed away earlier this week. Ntlwane who was a leading figure during the unification of black and white athletics bodies into what is today known as Athletics South Africa (ASA) served under founding ASA President Leonard Chuene as the federation's very first development officer.
"I used to run for Kwa-Thema Athletics Club but then I started to interact with the guys from Transvaal Amateur Athletics Union. But then what happened is that we started to feel this pressure from the establishment because athletics then never gave us a say. There were huge discrepancies between the white clubs and the black clubs. So I was a so-called Top Runner then and because of that I had to join up with the guys just to raise their voice and that's when I met Leonard Chuene," he told #TheTopRunner during an interview this January.
After being the voice of the black clubs during the unification process at a provincial level in Transvaal, Ntlwane, Chuene and late former ASA CEO Banele Sindane would go on to be influential figures during the national unity talks between the SAAAU (South African Amateur Athletics Union) and SAACON (South African Athletics Congress - the “non established” body) that would eventually lead to the formation of ASA in 1995.
"We finished with Transvaal Amateur Athletics and I moved with Chuene from that level. What happened is that when the Unity Talks started, they started in the coastal provinces around all the academic institutions and here in Transvaal we were not part of that. So when we went to join them, they had already achieved about 90% unity between the SAAAU and SAACON but when we came into that meeting we disrupted the whole to start again," he explained at the memorial service of his fallen comrade Chuene.
"Why we had to do that is because those unity talks were cosmetic in the sense that it favoured administrators. It was about overseas trips and all those things. But we changed all of that. Chuene was adamant that the athlete must be the centre of the whole thing," said the man who was the holder of a 43:47 15 kilometre personal best run in Cape Town in 1991.
Born 14 April 1963, Ntlwane will be most acutely missed by runners in his native Kwa-Thema where he continued to play an active role in the running community. In addition to his contribution to running in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, Ntlwane was also involved with the administration of the much-loved Soweto Marathon after it was formed by Sindane and others. Outside of athletics Bra Boycie (a Comrades Marathon finisher) will be remembered as a staunch catholic who assisted Radio Veritas with their fundraising efforts.