True Gentleman and Humble Entrepreneur
Meeting celebrities are always very exciting and it was with this excitement in my chest that I made my way to Caledon to meet with rugby legend Errol Tobias. As I was driving I was thinking about my late Father saying: “Jinne maar daai man kan darem speel hoor!” and I knew he would envy me if he knew where I was going. Errol played Fly-half and Centre in his career, retiring in 1984 at the age of 34, having played 15 times for the Springboks, including in six Tests. Today I wanted to find out what Errol Tobias was up to these days.
I was welcomed by Errol in true gentleman style and shown to his studio. It had an exhibition of a host of memorabilia that was the testimony of all the great memories of his rugby career. I soon felt convinced that this man’s whole life was rotating around rugby. Errol was born on the farm Klipdrift just outside Caledon and is one of 9 children, they are seven brothers and two sisters. And guess what…all seven of them played Rugby! Both his two sisters were nurses. Errol is married to Sandra, and they are the proud parents of two sons and two daughters, and the boys are both also rugby players.
Errol is a man for “Firsts”, he was the first man of colour to be included in the Springbok Rugby squad in 1980, and also became the first man of colour to be the Mayor of Caledon in 1995. Errol Tobias is a pioneer in South African rugby as the first black Springbok rugby player, paving the way for other players of colour, and in his autobiography Errol Tobias: Pure Gold, he tells of the victories he achieved and the obstacles he had to overcome during his time on the team. Due to his knowledge of and love for rugby he has been asked several times to be a rugby commentator at the radio station RSG and on SuperSport television channels. Today he is a devoted family man, has various business interests and serves his church as a lay preacher. He sees himself as an entrepreneur and says that being an entrepreneur is the same as playing rugby; if you see the gap you must take it! Errol is supporting his family by being involved in coaching clinics, and is also a motivational speaker. He receives guests at his studio with whom he shares his journey – be sure to book at least four days in advance.
I asked Errol what his vision was for the future, and this was his reply: “As Jesus said when he appeared for the last time on earth – Peace for everyone – that is my vision and desire. We should identify each other’s talents and throw all of it together. There is a lot of good in the people of South Africa that we so often do not know about! People live past each other and miss out on getting to know each other, if we know each other we can support each other and understand each other, and so create a better future together.” On a personal level he says he is curious to know what God has install for him after this earthly life, and every day makes a point of making sure that he is deserving of what is to come.