Tributes for Chester

Chester Williams has been hailed as a trailblazer and transformation pioneer.

09 September 2019 | Sports

Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) chief administrator Freddy Mwiya has hailed Bok winger Chester Williams as a player who changed the way people look at rugby.

Williams was the only black player who was part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup Bok team, who against all odds lifted the trophy on home soil.

He died of a suspected heart attack on Friday at the age of 49.

Williams played as a winger for the Boks from 1993 to 2000. He was the only player of colour in the side that defeated rivals New Zealand 15-12 at Ellis Park stadium in the final of the 1995 World Cup. The Springbok team was the sole domain of whites during the apartheid era until 1981.

“On behalf of the NSC, and the sporting family in Namibia, we convey our deepest condolences to the sporting fraternity in South Africa, specifically to the rugby family, for the loss of one of the first black rugby players of the Springboks.

“In the spirit of transformation in sport, he remains a living testimony of the road to transformation. Therefore, this loss is very sad news to us all,” Mwiya said. “Let his legacy shed more light on other new players, who will be joining rugby, as we continue to unite humanities through sport.”

Former Namibian rugby player Ronaldo Pedro, who played between 1999 and 2003, and who is now a sevens rugby coach, sent his condolences to Williams' family, saying he was indeed a pioneer of the game that many have come to love.

“I never got the chance to play against him, but he changed the dynamics in rugby and was indeed our hero, because we all looked up to him. He was an inspiration, as he was the only black (Springbok) player in a sport that was dominated by whites back then,” Pedro said. Former Namibian captain Jacques Burger, who played for the national team from 2004 to 2015, also tweeted: “Rest in peace, you legend.”

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa also offered his sincerest condolences to the family, friends, former teammates and teams with whom Williams shared his life.

“Chester Williams death at this tender age leaves all South Africans bereft of a rugby hero and national role model, who still had a great deal to offer his sport and his country,” Ramaphosa said.

“We will miss the humility and joy of life with which Chester conducted himself during an illustrious career that inspired hundreds of thousands of South African children, who had previously been excluded from rugby, to take up the game.

“We salute him for the extraordinary achievements he recorded in a life that has sadly ended prematurely,” Ramaphosa said.

Nicknamed the 'Black Pearl', Williams was born in Paarl on 8 August 1970. He played for DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions during his provincial career, which stretched from 1991 to 2000. He also had two seasons of Vodacom Super Rugby with the Cats. Williams made his Springbok debut against Argentina in 1993 and played 27 Tests for South Africa, until his last Test against Wales in 2000. He scored 14 Test tries in the process. In total, he played 47 matches in the green and gold and scored 27 tries.

In 1995, he was a member of the initial Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup, but had to withdraw due to injury shortly before the tournament started. He was later recalled and scored four tries in the quarterfinal against Samoa.

Williams was named SA Rugby Player of the Year in 1994. Apart from lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in 1995, Williams was also a member of the Springbok squad that won the Castle Lager Rugby Championship (then the Tri-Nations) in 1998, and he won the Currie Cup with the Xerox Golden Lions in 1999.

Blessed with speed to burn and great anticipation, sevens rugby was also a natural fit for Williams, who played in 22 tournaments for the Springbok sevens team, including the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournaments in 1993 and 2001. He also captained the Blitzboks at the Commonwealth Games in 1998. After his playing days, Williams turned to coaching, where he was involved at various levels of the game, including the Blitzboks, the Cats (Vodacom Super Rugby), the national teams of Uganda and Tunisia, the Phakisa Pumas (Currie Cup), and more recently the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in the FNB Varsity Cup.

Williams was also invited to be the bearer of the 2004 Olympic torch, which was on its way to Athens. As part of his legacy, Williams recently launched Chester's Lager, which will be sold during the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Williams is the fifth member of the Springbok squad from 1995 to pass away, after Kitch Christie (coach), Ruben Kruger (flank), Joost van der Westhuizen (scrumhalf) and James Small (wing) died.

Williams is survived by his wife Maria and three children, Ryan and twins Matthew and Chloe.

-Additional info by NAMPA/ANA


Similar News


Grand Prix series begins

1 hour ago | Sports

The first Athletics Namibia series event of the year is set to take place this Saturday at the Grootfontein Independence Stadium. The 2020 Grand...

No surrender, no retreat

1 hour ago | Sports

Brave Warriors interim coach Bobby Samaria says his players and the coaching staff will have to up their game going into massive World Cup qualifiers....

Another first-round loss for Sharapova

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Sports

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova admitted she does not know if she will be back at the Australian Open next year after suffering a...

Four SA referees named on Super Rugby panel

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Sports

The experienced Jaco Peyper, along with AJ Jacobs, Rasta Rasivhenge and Marius van der Westhuizen are the four South African referees on the 12-man Vodacom...

Tokyo 2020 countdown begins

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Sports

Uncertainty over Russia's participation in a third consecutive Olympics and concerns over heat hang heavy over the Tokyo 2020 preparations, with only six months until...

NC hopes to avoid legal battles

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Sports

The Fifa normalisation committee says it used legal procedures during the Namibia Football Association (NFA) presidency and executive committee vetting in order to avoid legal...

Namibia ready for 2020 African Karate Championships

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Sports

The Namibian Karate Union (Naku) has hopes to grow into a force in African karate. Last year, Naku hosted the 2019 Region 5 Karate...

Mathebula dies

2 days ago - 21 January 2020 | Sports

Peter 'Terror' Mathebula, the first black South African boxer to win a world title, has died aged 67 near Johannesburg, his family said on Sunday....

NBF gets busy with Olympic qualifiers

2 days ago - 21 January 2020 | Sports

The Namibia Boxing Federation (NBF) is planning to send 12 boxers to Dakar, Senegal for a 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification tournament, scheduled to take place...

Van Dijk leads charge

2 days ago - 21 January 2020 | Sports

Liverpool spent much of the last 30 years living in Manchester United's shadow, but their time to be crowned champions of England again is nigh....

Latest News

A beacon of hope

1 hour ago | Education

The Tsintsabis Combined School's feeding programme has received resounding support from stakeholders since its implementation in 2004, acting principal Christalina Narubes said.During an interview at...

'Pay up Samherji'

1 hour ago | Short News

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani says Icelandic fishing company Samherji should take responsibility for the thousands of Namibian fishermen who lost their jobs...

Former cop appears for internet...

1 hour ago | Crime

The Walvis Bay Magistrate's Court has denied bail to a 30-year-old former policeman who made his first appearance on charges of internet fraud on Tuesday.Ricardo...

‘It’s no gimmick’

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Crime

OGONE TLHAGE New Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu has moved her office to the Babylon informal settlement, saying this will put her in touch with the city’s residents. The move...

N$450m party funding unaudited

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Politics

OGONE TLHAGE Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke says there is no law authorising him to...

Teachers warned against accepting bribes

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Education

Kavango East education director Fanuel Kapapero has issued a stern warning to teachers who are accepting bribes from parents in exchange for placing children at...

Swapo must outlive its members

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Opinion

Swapo is in the midst of probably its toughest spell of post-independence existence. The mushrooming of the independent candidates phenomenon, almost all of whom are...

Hardap Dam level drops to...

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Disasters

The Hardap Dam's level has dropped even further since last week. Even though the dam received its first inflow since 2018 last week after some...

Tough road ahead

1 day - 22 January 2020 | Agriculture

The disastrous drought in Namibia over the past seven years has forced livestock producers to significantly reduce their herds. They are now faced with cash...

Load More