A die hard Grey College fan and sport supporter, 62-year-old William Peter May, says only death will part him from being a Grey College supporter. The staunch interschool sports enthusiast is feisty yet humble and rich with knowledge.
” ‘Piet’ is the shortened version of Peter. I was born and bred in Edenburg. That’s where I first saw a rugby match played by white school children. Our black schools back then did not have rugby, but because I lived in an Afrikaans speaking coloured neighbourhood, the children’s parents would take me to watch rugby at the white schools on Saturdays. I was intrigued by the school rugby and I learnt all about the sport during that time,” he enthuses.
The vibrant general worker at the Free State Cricket Union speaks with zeal with an immediate bright spark creeping into his aged eyes when he recalls starring in (the) late cricket icon Hansie Cronje’s self-titled movie “Hansie” in 2008. “Hansie loved people; he would bring boxes of clothes to the ‘brown staff’, being us, the black staff. His dad and siblings knew me from other matches.”
May digs deep in his treasure box of memories as he recounts all the schools he has been to around the country. He attributes his wide travels to Grey College, where they made him the first black guest speaker during a school assembly in 1993. He explains his journey to Grey College set off after faithfully reading the a local newspaper every week back in 1967.
“Every Monday I would get the newspaper and read about the weekend’s sports events. I was deeply interested in Grey’s performance since they won most matches, and not just in rugby, but also athletics and other sports. When I came to Bloemfontein in 1974, I made it a point to see Grey College.
Because of my love for this game and sport, they welcomed me with open arms. In 2005, when the school was celebrating 150 years, I was given the official Grey College flag, which you will see me waving about during matches. I spoke during the ceremony and now I am friends with a lot of parents and children outside Grey College,” he beams.
The doting father proudly adds his last born daughter will be graduating in September with a BA degree in Management from the University of Free State.
“In the future I would really like to see more black schools also playing rugby, though many are already taking up the sport. It makes me happy to see this because these kids must hold on to their talents. There is a future in sport and as humans and we all lose and win at some point in our lives,” he adds.
“by Thandi Xaba”