Soccer is intensely and religiously followed with passion by paint-daubed, costumed, whistling and cheering fans in South Africa. Soccer is a nation builder in this country. The sport enjoys a huge support base in the black community especially in townships like Mamelodi, Soweto, Atteridgeville etc.
There soccer topic is the best “ice breaker” in the South African streets, whether you have little or no knowledge about the sport. Now that`s where people like Cebo Manyaapelo with his rich knowledge of the sport came in.
Manyani, as he was affectionately known would turn someone who`s clueless about soccer into an expert within 90 minute of the game. He was charismatic and passionate in his commentary done splendidly in the Setswana language. He captivated and mesmerized people with his in-depth, factual, and well-informed and yet playful commentary.
Cebo was called to be a sports commentator, you could hear from how he meticulously embossed himself on air in his mother tongue – he loved what he did and the nation loved him for that. Rre Manyaapelo made a simple match very interesting and enjoyable even though your favourite team would be on the losing side, he would keep the flame burning even into the extra minutes of the game.
Cebo Clement Manyaapelo was born on the 7th May 1967. He attended HIS primary school at Semauswane in Ellendale in Kuruman. He then moved to Diphetogo primary school in Montshioa Mafikeng. Cebo then proceeded to Boingotlo middle school and also went to Tetlano middle school. He went to high school at Lapologang secondary and matriculated at the Barolong High School.
On the 3rd December 1984, Manyaapelo started his first official job at Radio Bop – he worked there as a sports presenter. The first game he broadcasted was between Moroka Swallows and Witbank Aces on 27th Feb 1985 at the Orlando stadium.
In the 33 years that Cebo Clement Manyaapelo was on air, these are his achievements:
1986 – Best Radio Commentary for Iwisa Soccer Spectacular.
1987 – Radio Commentary of the Bopsol
1990 – SAB newcomer of the year
1992 – N.S.L Radio Commentator
1994 – Castle League Broadcaster of the year
1998 – SAB Radio Commentator of the year. In the same year he covered the opening game of the France 1998 where S.A. competed for the first-time
2000 – Joined TV commentary team of Laduma
2003 – Voted the Best New Commentator.
2004 – Shared the Commentator of the year award with Mark Gleeson.
2005 – Won in the Television Commentator of the year category
2008 – Won the PanSalb award for purity of language.
2010 – Acknowledged by the North West sports Department and won several community awards including the star of Maftown
Cebo had adopted a number of schools – Tshireletso in Bloemfontein and Mampho High in Migdol were among those schools.
Manyaapelo`s death came two days before a charity benefit golf day organised by his colleagues and well-wishers in order to raise funds for his growing medical bill.
Manyaapelo died on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 at a Mahikeng hospital, he was 50 at the time of his death. On Thursday 30 November 2017 Manyani was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Mahikeng in the North West Province. The funeral service was held at the North West University.
A family member revealed to all those attending Manyaapelo`s funeral, that the legendary sports broadcaster died from colon cancer and not from depression which the masses speculated that he died from.
Cebo Clement Manyaapelo is survived by the Manyaapelo and the Makgamathe families.
He will be remembered with these quotes of his: “Kgwele ya dinao ga e na therefore” and “Re tla dula re thabile… ka dinako tsotlhe.”
No one will ever be as exuberant in sports commentary like Cebo Clement Manyaapelo was. He lived his love with passion and he has left a legacy.
As Cebo once said – as people of faith let us not cry like people of no faith – only God knows. Let us allow ourselves to mourn his passing as we take comfort in the fact he suffers no more.
“Rara nthute go bala malatsi a botshelo jwa me ka seatlhamo sa diatla tsa me.” (Lord help me to count the days of my life by the lines on the palms of my hands).
REST IN PEACE CEBO CLEMENT MANYAAPELO, MOSIMANE WA MOKGWATLHENG…