Growing up, Olebile Sikwane had undiluted admiration for South African soccer legend, Doctor '16V' Khumalo. He watched the dazzling midfielder dish out top-drawer performances every week, particularly for Kaizer Chiefs, in a career that took Khumalo overseas. But, concerned that future generations might not have any comprehensive literature about Khumalo's exploits, Sikwane's affinity has snowballed into a biography, titled ‘Doctor Khumalo South Africa', which was produced recently.
“The inspiration to write this book comes as a consequence of my affinity to Kaizer Chiefs. I grew up during CCV TV. We watched Kaizer Chiefs, it was the most successful club, winning everything and Doctor Khumalo was second only to Chris Hani in terms of popularity, with Nelson Mandela in Robben Island prison,” said Sikwane. He said he was motivated by Khumalo’s popularity as he had “never seen such a powerful and influential player, and brand”.
“Even here in Botswana, he was big. I was further attracted to him by his ability to lure multinationals to his brand as brand ambassador for BMW, Puma, SportPesa, Debonairs, MTN and many others. That for me was enough inspiration and I wanted to chronicle this journey for generations to look back on, to understand the genius Doctor Khumalo was.”
He said his father and uncle used to talk about other South African greats like Jomo Sono, Ace Ntsoelengoe and Botswana legends, Teenage Tlhowe and Ryder Rammala. “But there was nothing to refer to, I wanted to honour my hero with a book,” he said. He said Khumalo has managed to stay relevant, more than a decade after retiring from the game. Sikwane said Khumalo’s rise, in a country that fought years of white minority oppression under apartheid, was inspirational.
“He gave people the smile and hope. After apartheid fell, he was
Asked if he would work on a biography for a local player, Sikwane said he has received a cold shoulder from one legend he is genuinely interested in profiling; Diphetogo ‘Dipsy’ Selolwane. However, he indicated that his favourite player of all-time is Tumi Duiker. “I think we haven’t had any talent closer to Duiker.
Tsotso is talented, Dipsy is a genius, Mogogi was the most complete player and Kgamanyane is profusely talented and promising, but with the exception of Dipsy, I don’t think they are compelling for a book,” said Sikwane. Instead, Sikwane said Selolwane has ignored his requests for a book “for many years now”. “I think I want to write a book about Vee, he is such an interesting brand. He is captivating and has a mass appeal,” said Sikwane.
Authorhouse in the United States published Doctor Khumalo South Africa and Sikwane has not engaged any distribution company, although Edcon and Exclusive Books are reportedly keen. “In the US, they are exploring the possibility of a film around the book,” said Sikwane.
He said it took him 11 years to put the book together, as he wanted a comprehensive project.