Cosmo’s sexiest to heat up golf course

Gillian McAinsh

THERE is a perception that golf is a sport for rich old white men to talk business and get away from their nagging wives. Now look at the two celebrities lined up to play in the Boardwalk Retail Charity Golf Day at Humewood today.

On the one hand, there is stylish 23-year-old male model Masego “Maps” Maponyane , a bespectacled yet sexy young fashionista who recently launched his own OCD clothing line.

And on the other hand, you have former Springbok rugby legend Naas Botha, 55, who is now a sports commentator. Botha plays off a handicap of four – and on a score of 0 to 18, the lower the handicap, the better the player.

Who do you think will turn in the best score? If you said Naas, I might bet against you because Maponyane at one stage planned to turn professional.

“I’ve always been an avid golfer and in Standard 9 I was down to a plus two,” he said in an interview this week. “I broke my leg at the end of that year and that set me back. Then after matric I sort of fell into media and fashion and now am in an entirely different industry.”

He doesn’t get the chance to play much due to his new direction as model, actor, entrepreneur and now clothing designer – he is also waiting to hear about an upcoming part in a movie and a role in a new television series.

He certainly does not rate South African golfers’ fashion choices: “It’s pretty appalling, there is no doubt about that!”

Still, he would still consider a career as a golf pro – even though this would be “knuckle-down commitment, you don’t do anything else and you can’t be nonchalant” – if it weren’t for the fact that he is having such fun.

Voted South Africa’s sexiest man by Cosmopolitan magazine this year, Maponyane proves that girls do make passes at men who wear glasses.

“I’m as blind as a bat and I could go for laser surgery but I feel comfortable with them,” he says of his stylish spectacles. He believes they work to his advantage as they give him the chance to change his look on screen and in print, invaluable in his line of work.

As for a woman in his life, he says that despite being a “hopeless romantic, and an absolute sucker for whoever I am with” he is – for the moment at least – unattached.

That’s good news for the single girls in town because he loved his last visit to Algoa Bay in June so much he has asked the Boardwalk to let him stay for the weekend instead of flying home to Johannesburg tonight with Botha.

“I had an amazing time in PE! But it is hard to tie me down as if I know that person is waiting for me, it just is not fair on them. I travel a lot and although I have had the best girlfriends, my career gets in the way.”

His glitzy lifestyle has featured on programmes like Top Billing and – of course – many know the Maponyane name due to his famous father, the former soccer player Marks Maponyane.

But Maponyane junior is full of surprises, popping up on glossy fashion pages wearing cheap takkies from Mr Price as well as classy designer footwear.

Yet there also is a more serious side: he says he is building up his image now so that by the time he reaches his thirties he will be able to move into what he really wants to do: philanthropy.

“We live in a society where I may have the biggest heart for a certain cause but if Brad Pitt comes along even with no heart he will get a billion times more funding for his cause than I will for mine. I want to create loyalty and a following so I can focus on philanthropy in the future.”

He will be glad to know proceeds from the Boardwalk golf day will benefit the Vistarus Centre in Sydenham.

And, who do you think will win on the fairways today? I wouldn’t take any bets …

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