Former Springbok captain dies aged 71

Former Springbok captain Welile “Bomza” Nkohla passed away on Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer. 

The 71-year-old, whose full name was Welile James “Bomza” Nkohla was born on February 22, 1946.

He made his provincial debut at the age of 21 years and his debut as an African Springbok and captain of the side against the SA Coloured Rugby Football Board National XV in May 1968, a match his team won by 8-5.

“’Bomza’ was not only a legend in Eastern Cape rugby communities, but a legend of black rugby prior to the days of unity in our game, and until his passing this weekend,” said South African Rugby Union (Saru) deputy president Mark Alexander.


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“Unfortunately he did not have the opportunity to display his vast talent on the international stage, because of the political situation in our country, but he is a former national captain and will be remembered as an uncompromising loose forward who had a huge love for South African rugby.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time of grief.”

He leaves behind his wife, Bella, six children, a twin sister Welekazi, and a brother Mzimkhulu.

Nkohla’s handprints (together with that of other living national captains), including Francois Pienaar, were cast in bronze and in 2014 installed at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town.

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