Sports broadcasting royalty, icon, hero, role model, and a social justice activist, that’s just how one can easily describe this living legend that is Robert Marawa. Thanks to Mandy Wiener, the world and in particular South Africans, finally get a chance to get up-close and personal with one of the living broadcasting greats, whose iconic status is appreciated and loved by all people across all age and racial groups.
In Gqimm Shelele, Robert narrates his personal life journey from his humble beginnings living in a farm in the rural parts of KwaZulu Natal to becoming one of the most loved sports broadcasting icons of our time.
In this well-written memoir, Robert, in the most brutally honest manner, answers all the questions that have been on the lips of people who have been following his career throughout the years. In his answers he reveals a local team that he supports, his first encounter with racism, name and shame the “cabal” behind his many firings at the SABC, his love life, and many other issues that he had previously intentionally refused to share with the public.
Perusing through the pages of this book, I appreciated Robert’s honesty from the first page to the last one. He speaks with the level of honesty that not only makes his story so relatable but one which is very courageous.
Mandy brilliantly introduced to the readers Robert Marawa, the son, brother, father, lover, and a human being who had so many knocks in life.
The good thing about this book is that you do not have to be a sports/football fan to relate to Robert’s life experiences.
I find myself gravitating back to the opening chapters where Robert,without fear and contradictions, openly talks about the racism that he had endured at Hilton College during his high schooling(Yes, that expensive school in KZN).
And it is on that point that I think many of us would easily relate to his story about how racism in so many private schools continue to do a lot of damage to our Black children.
I like the fact that Robert openly named and shamed the institutional racism at the school which not only ruined his sporting career prospects but one that continues to suffocate so many Black children.
This is obviously a book that will ruffle the feathers of so many people at Hilton and has the potential to even invite a lawsuit against Robert, because he, without fear, also called out those he calls the “cabal” who were behind all his firings at the public broadcaster throughout.
I think the only bummer for me is how Robert shied away from talking about his supposed beef with Pitso Mosimane. For years, we have seen how the two seemed to have a dislike for one another, and I think Robert missed the opportunity to really clear the air on the issue.
Besides that, this is a moving and brutally honest read.
Mandy should be congratulated for allowing Robert to share his inspiring life journey with his legions of supporters.