Dingaan Thobela: South Africa boxing legend final resting place revealed ahead of Thursday burial

Dingaan Thobela celebrates bating Glenn Catley at Carnival City back in 2000. PHOTO/ Courtesy

Dingaan Thobela: South Africa boxing legend final resting place revealed ahead of Thursday burial

Festus Chuma 14:00 - 08.05.2024

South African boxing legend Dingaan Thobela, the "Rose of Soweto," will be laid to rest after a heartfelt farewell.

Former boxing champion Dingaan Thobela will receive a poignant send-off this Thursday as family, friends, and fans gather to bid him farewell n Johannesburg, South Africa. 

The funeral service for the revered sports figure is scheduled to take place at the Dlamini Multi-Purpose Hall, adjacent to the Moroka Police Station, from 8 AM until 11 AM.

Known affectionately as the Rose of Soweto, Thobela's death has resonated deeply across the nation uniting both black and white South Africans in mourning. 

The 57-year-old icon's career spanned the tumultuous periods before and after apartheid during which he became a symbol of unity and hope. 

His remarkable journey began in the humble townships and soared to international fame as he clinched the WBO lightweight title in 1990, followed by the WBA lightweight title in 1993 and the prestigious WBC super-middleweight title in 2000.

A memorial service held this past Tuesday at the Arena Holdings offices in Parktown, Johannesburg, saw a gathering of notable figures from the boxing world, the music industry, and political spheres. 

Promoter Rodney Berman, who managed Thobela's second WBA title fight, expressed his admiration.

"It is truly a great honor to have been part of Dingaan's journey. We are considering organizing an annual event in his honor to continue his legacy," he said.

Berman's sentiments were echoed by retired boxers such as Brian Mitchell and Jan Bergman, who shared personal anecdotes about their times with Thobela. 

Mitchell, particularly, reminisced about the never-realized bout between him and Thobela, humorously declaring it a draw in respect to his late friend.

The service is expected to be a blend of solemnity and celebration, reflecting the duality of Thobela's impact both as a boxer and a humanitarian. 

Ndivhuwo, Thobela’s son, spoke on behalf of the family, highlighting his father's philosophy of ubuntu.

 "He always gave without expecting anything in return and was a pillar of support and guidance for us," he said.

Thobela's career, which spanned from 1990 to 2006, not only brought him accolades in the ring but also immense respect for his charitable efforts towards alleviating poverty. 

The ceremony on Thursday will provide an opportunity for those who admired him to pay their respects and reflect on the profound impact he had on their lives and the broader South African society.

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