Cricketing hero showed bravery on and off field

ROB KNOWLES

 

BRAVING the harsh summer sun, about 200 people attended the funeral of Masixole “Hassan” Mkrakra in Bathurst on Saturday December 22 to say farewell to a sporting hero who tragically lost his life recently.

 

Mkrakra, 20, a rising star on the cricket field, was the first member of the Tiger Titans to receive provincial colours and, as a participant in the President’s Award, was specially invited to address an august gathering of sporting greats at the home of cricket, Lords in the UK in March last year.

 

“He was more than a team member, he was my friend. More than that, he was my brother,” said Ross McCreath, founder of the Tiger Titans cricket team.

PAINFUL: Many of those in attendance at the recent funeral of local sporting star Masixole “Hassan” Mkrakra could not contain their sorrow as his coffin was lowered into the ground Picture: ROB KNOWLES

“We will never forget him.”

 

Tiger Titans head coach Duduzi Mkalipi said he had been devastated by the news of Mkrakra’s drowning.

 

“It was such a waste of talent. He will be sorely missed,” said Mkalipi.

 

Mkrakra had been busy with his Xhosa initiation into manhood when he and his fellow initiates had decided to swim at the Bathurst quarry for relaxation. The group had been using plastic bottles as floats when the tragedy had occurred.

 

According to reports, a swimmer lost his float and Mkrakra had given up his and dived to recover the other but never resurfaced.

 

About 60 of his Tiger Titans teammates donned their cricket whites and, together with a troop of uniformed National Rural Youth Service Corps paraded a flag bearing the young cricketer’s image to the graveside.

 

Around 100 other mourners followed.

 

Mkalipi lamented that the Tiger Titans had lost not just a fine young cricketer, but a true leader and friend.

 

“Hassan was an opening batsman, a wicketkeeper and a right-arm fast bowler. He was also a leader and an excellent captain,” said Mkalipi.

 

Deputy director of the Eastern Cape department of sports, recreation, arts and culture, Zwelinzima Nkwinti, said at the graveside: “The province, and perhaps the country, has lost a young man who could have gone on to great things. We all mourn his passing.”

 

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