Johnny Masilela

Who among you remembers the good ol’ days?


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 135

Internet, oh damn internet!

We arrived at the office Monday morning to find the internet running on a snail’s pace.

It must have been a frustrating start to the business of the day for the likes of the reporters, namely Mzamane Ringane, Lizzy Bapela, TK Mashaba, Andries van der Heyde, and Justin Steyn. 

And oh, talking about Justin, the young man shall be spending his last days with us in the newsroom next week, drifting away into new pastures.

But I digress. Monday week, as I observed earlier, started on the pace of a chameleon in terms of access to the internet.

For me this brought back memories of the newsrooms of days yonder, when we did not have internet.

A couple of months ago a selection of us were nudged to contribute to an anthology of essays, tracing back our journey as veteran journalists.

My own memories were of a time when I reported on soccer matches, between Pretoria Bantu Callies and the likes of Moroka Swallows Big XV, for the now defunct Rand Daily Mail, mainly at Lucas Moripe Stadium, in Pretoria. 

The latter venue was known as Super Stadium, with the home team, Pretoria Bantu Callies, featuring the likes of the self-same “Masterpieces” Moripe, after whom the stadium has been renamed.

Importantly, I also traced back my boyhood memories in the Pretoria township of Mamelodi, when we used to take the sub-urban train from the local Eerste Fabrieke railway station, headed for the creme de la crème soccer at Super Stadium.

Without taking away the soccer flair of the likes of “Bantala” Shigo and “Frelimo” Dibetla, the main drawcard at Pretoria Bantu Callies was Moripe, he of the so-called twinkle toes.

On the local front at Bela-Bela, Cisco Maphokga and Paul Maphokga also played soccer in Atteridgeville, for the most feared Pretoria All Stars.

As a wannabe sports reporter, I used to cover these soccer matches, dash into a telephone booth, and relate - paragraph by paragraph - the match report to dictate-phone operators at the Mail headquarters in Johannesburg.

As part of my essay, I also touched on my close proximity to the likes of the Mail’s political desk, which included, among other luminaries, the late Zwelakhe Sisulu (son to Walter) and Helen Zille (Western Cape Premier).

Thomas “TK” Kwenaite, now a soccer commentator with Supersport, traced back memories of his own time at the Mail, whereby we were both cub reporters.

Molefi Mika, the erstwhile sports editor at the Sowetan, travelled back memory lane to the days when we were both incubated by the late father of black journalism, Doc Bikitsha.

Bra Doc was the first journalist from the great Drum writers recognised by Mandela, when he emerged from prison.

The late Belede Mazwai (neé Vabaza), the mother to music sensation, Thandiswa Mazwai, was with me and Molefi on a journalism course facilitated by the Thomson Foundation of the United Kingdom.

In his brilliant essay, Thabo Mooke, now publishing editor at Sosh Times, captured the moments when the late Bophuthatswana President Lucas Mangope, was escorted into the studios at Bop TV to declare the crushing of an abortive coup by one Rocky Melebane-Metsing.   

4 months ago       22 February 2018