Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President of South Africa and a huge Spurs fan, was presented with a copy of the Tottenham Hotspur Opus in Johannesburg today (Wednesday, May 18).
Mr Motlanthe was given the gift during the Club’s visit to South Africa ahead of our participation in the 2011 Vodacom Challenge in July.
Bongani Khumalo, our January signing from SuperSport United, joined Club Officials and Club Ambassador, Gary Mabbutt, on a visit to Liliesleaf farm in Johannesburg where Motlanthe was presented the Opus by Executive Director, Donna Cullen.
The Deputy President is a Spurs fan going back to our first visit to South Africa in 1963 and he explained how he was hooked after seeing some of the club’s all-time greats on that tour.
He said: "This is a gift of a lifetime, I really feel honoured to receive this Spurs Opus on a special day for us in South Africa when we are having local government elections.
"When that great Spurs team came to SA under the captaincy of Danny Blanchflower and managed by Bill Nicholson it just left a lasting impression on me, there were great players there like Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Jones and Dave Mackay, and they are legends and since then I have always followed Spurs through the different mangers and different generations and I think the current generation come very close to emulating that 60s generation."
It’s a further example of our strong links with South Africa ahead of the Vodacom Challenge, which begins with our match against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, July 16.
THE TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR OPUS
The Spurs Opus, which is the most concise piece of Spurs memorabilia charting the Club’s full history, includes exclusive interviews, photoshoots and features, plus a rich array of rare and previously unpublished archive photos.
There are only 1,000 copies of the Spurs Opus published and the book measures half a metre square weighing over 30kgs.
The presentation was at Liliesleaf farm, a historic and symbolic location in South Africa.
The farm used secretly by African National Congress activists in the 1960s and was the location where many prominent African National Congress leaders were arrested, leading to the Rivonia Trial.
The trial, which ran from October 1963 to June 1964, culminated in the imposition of life sentences for eight of the accused, including Nelson Mandela.
SPURS AND SOUTH AFRICA
The Club has a well established presence in South Africa through its joint academy with Premier Soccer League Champions SuperSport United and several charity and community-based initiatives. Since 2007 the Club has announced three separate partnerships with current Premier Soccer League champions SuperSport United, children’s orphan charity SOS Children’s Villages and South African specialist bank and asset manager Investec.
Three years ago the Club officially opened the doors to the Tottenham Hotspur House in the SOS Children’s Village in Rustenburg. The house, which is funded using money from player fines, is now home to a family of children all in full-time education. Members of the current First Team also sponsor orphans in the village as part of the Club’s work with the charity. In July last year Michael Dawson met 12-year-old Aubrey, the orphan he sponsors at the village in Rustenburg, experiencing firsthand the impact of the Club’s relationship with SOS Children’s Villages.
Since the formation of a Club partnership with SuperSport United, the South African team has successfully won three back to back PSL titles (2008, 2009 and 2010). Following investment from the Club a joint academy based in Johannesburg has been established and a successful coach and player exchange programme has been implemented that has seen academy players visit the UK for training and tournaments.
In January, Spurs secured the transfer of SuperSport United’s 23-year-old defender and South African international Bongani Khumalo. The transfer followed a successful season for the player who captained SuperSport United to a third league title as well as scoring for South Africa against France in the 2010 World Cup.
In July last year, Investec became the Club’s first ever cup shirt sponsor. The South African company’s name and logo features on the Club’s playing shirts in all cup competition matches including European club competitions, FA Cup and League Cup.
South Africa has also become an important destination for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. For the last two years, the Foundation and teachers from Haringey Council’s Children and Young People's Service have embarked on an educational exchange trip to South Africa working in partnership with both SuperSport United and SOS Children.
With an established and passionate supporter base in South Africa, the visit will provide a great opportunity for the Club to further strengthen links with fans and partners, as well as provide the team with the perfect preparation for the 2011/2012 season.
Our pictures show - top of page - from left - Darren Eales (Director of Football Administration, THFC), Andrew Henderson (British Trade Commissioner for South Africa), Donna Cullen (Executive Director, THFC), Mr Kgalema Motlanthe (Deputy President, South Africa), Gary Mabbutt and Bongani Khumalo.
Middle of page with the Opus - Gary Mabbutt, Donna Cullen, Kgalema Motlanthe and Nicholas Wolpe (Liliesleaf, Chief Executive Officer).