Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Sat, 03.18.1950

Errol Tobias, Rugby Union Player, born.

Errol Tobias

*Errol Tobias was born on this date in 1950. He is a former Black South African rugby union player.

Errol George Tobias was born on the farm Klipdrift, located outside Caledon, South Africa, in the Overberg district of the Western Cape. He played in the early 1970s for the Proteas when they toured in Britain. The Proteas was a team of nonwhites who represented the South African Rugby Federation in games with other countries under apartheid.

Tobias' international career began with the Proteas' 1971 tour of Britain. The Proteas were affiliated with the Coloured South African Rugby Football Federation, one of four racially segregated rugby union associations in South Africa at the time. The first official multi-racial team to play a foreign national side was the South African Invitation XV, which included four players of color: the team beat the French on June 7, 1975, at Newlands in Cape Town by 18 points to 3. In August 1978, Tobias turned out at fly-half for a multi-racial South African Country District XV against the American Cougars. Tobias scored two tries at the Border Rugby Union Grounds and helped score two more.

About 5,500 spectators witnessed the 44–12 victory over the American team. As co-commentator for provincial, Super Rugby, and test matches, Tobias drew positive comments from the public for his elegant use of Afrikaans. However, others opined that he was not good at summarizing. Tobias was the first nonwhite player to play in a test match for the South African national side. He gained six caps between 1981 and 1984 when the country was still following the policy of apartheid. His teammates included three nonwhite players, Francois Davids, Charles Williams, and Solomon Mhlaba. Tobias worked as a bricklayer and later owned his own construction company.

After the end of apartheid and all-race elections were held, on November 8, 1995, he became the first Black mayor of his hometown, Caledon. He had stood for election as part of the Caledon Community Association, formed in 1993, which aimed to improve the welfare of residents. Tobias' association won 5 of 13 available seats and formed a coalition with the African National Congress. He committed himself to promoting racial reconciliation by running rugby training camps. In 1996, he lost his position when the local ANC elected Abe Botha as the new mayor. Tobias, who continued as a counselor, initially criticized the new mayor for being part of the repression of Coloured residents during Botha's earlier terms as mayor from 1974 to 1981.

Tobias later committed to cooperate with Botha for the welfare of the town. He is married, and his sons Sidney (Sid) and Errol Jr. played for the Bloemfontein club Old Greys in 2004. Errol Junior was included at fly-half in the 2004 tryouts for the Cats Super 12 team and was a replacement for the Leopards' during the 2007 Currie Cup season. In 2011, Sid Tobias played for the Sale Jets.

To become a Professional Athlete

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

I have been all my lovers I have been better than my lovers I have been those better than I the ones I’ve never met the ones I’ve met... Desire 1. by Thulani Davis
Read More