There is an old saying that when days are dark, friends are few – this old adage certainly applied to departed former Sorento Bucks FC giant shot-stopper and Black Africa staunch supporter, Ewert Beukes.
Namibian football has always attracted and produced a significant number of colourful characters with some performing wonders on the pitch while others were notorious for their on and off the field antics.
Bra Ewert, as the beanpole Ted was popularly known among his buddies, was an ever-present figure at organised dance gigs at the Katutura Community Hall, back in the day.
By the way, the moniker Ewert, was not a corruption of his baptised name Edward, but simply a nickname earned on the football pitch in honour of the legendary late Kaizer Chiefs chief administrator and astute talent scout Ewert ‘The Lip’ Nene, who suffered a violent death in South Africa. Bra Ewert used to make it his sole beat to harass unsuspecting music revellers at night – only to rock up at football matches the next day throwing his huge frame around. He would sporadically invade the pitch questioning referees’ decisions and threatening to take the law into his own hands.
After all, his residence was adjacent to the Katutura Community Hall and Bra Ewert felt some kind of entitlement to be treated like a Township King, demanding exemption from coughing up the asking entrance fee.
And, as if this was not enough, revellers were ordered to part ways with a few dollars by way of a protection fee. That was Bra Ewert for you!! But as fate would have it, Bra Ewert was struck by a reckless speeding taxi driver while stationed on the pavement in front of his parental home in Katutura’s Independence Avenue.
The freak accident, which occurred in 2010 was to change his entire life profoundly – leaving the self-confessed fun-loving Bra Ewert with multiple injuries, including an amputated right leg, partial paralysis and occasional memory loss.
New Era Sports visited the notorious wheelchair-bound-cum-gentle giant at his home as he relived his thorny life journey in detail.
WINDHOEK – A fairly well known much-feared bulky fellow, Edward Beukes was a product of Katutura, an uncompromising streetwise toughie in the real sense of the word.
He was among very few blokes who could confidently claim a certain measure of ownership of the “Kassie” at least his neck of the woods.
After all, he was born there in 1963. Despite his huge, imposing frame, Bra Ewert was a hyperactive lad trying his hand at all kinds of things, including his trademark scary Mr T haircut.
A staunch Black Africa Football Club supporter, Bra E started playing football at the A.I. Steenkamp Primary School in Katutura before graduating to playing in more organised structures with the then newly formed Sorento Bucks FC in 1976.
Bra Ewert shifted between the sticks and was a fearless shot-stopper with the exciting youthful outfit, which had the crème de la crème of young footballers from the Damara and Nama sections of Katutura Township in their armoury.
The likes of Axab Gowaseb, Lucky Richter, Gruzi Goseb, Wagga Goagoseb, Miga Xoagub and Botsotso Nanub all made their mark with Sorento Bucks before joining Orlando Pirates, Black Africa and African Stars, respectively.
Bra Ewert certainly played a big role in Sorento Bucks’ participation in the now defunct popular Central Namibia Football League under the stewardship of the hippy look-alike football guru, Uncle Bobby Sissing, in 1980, which led to the team’s subsequent presence in the country’s combined elite league in 1986.
The same year, Bra E joined the South West Africa (SWA) Provincial Force (army) located at Luiperdsvallei, South of Windhoek. Nonetheless, the giant shot-stopper took just a year before he was drafted into the combined army football team to represent his native land in the annual South African Army Games, in Durban, South Africa.
He was eventually converted to centre back and his rock steady defence helped the team finish in a respectable seventh overall position out of the 12 participating teams.
His arrival in the force transformed his wayward behaviour bringing some kind of relief to those who lived in constant fear of him whenever their children were sent on errands to purchase groceries at the Central Shops, aka Big Shops (Groot Winkels) where Bra Ewert reigned supreme.
His rehabilitation in the defence force coincided with Namibia’s Independence in 1990. And by this time, Bra Ewert walked out of the army as a completely different character.
His regular presence at local football matches added spark to the beautiful game, as he would always make his presence felt, shouting his lungs out in support of his beloved Black Africa FC.
However, as fate would dictate, his affection towards the beautiful game that took him beyond the borders of his native land in 1987, was abbreviated prematurely by an alleged drunken taxi driver, who plunged his vehicle into his huge frame.
Bra E was relaxing outside his parental home on Independence Avenue on that fateful night of September 3, 2010, depriving him of a leg and confining him to the wheelchair partially paralysed and speech impaired.
In the meantime, his footloose “Motjie” (long-time girlfriend), mother of his three siblings (two deceased), walked out on him after the ordeal, prompting his elder sister Elizabeth to resign from her job in order to take care of her beloved brother.
Nowadays, the lonely wheelchair-bound Bra Ewert spends most of his time in the backyard of his home and occasionally wheels himself on the short journey to the nearby Central Shops to spend some time with his old buddies.
“It has been very tough for him because he is a fun-loving person and loves to be with people but since the car accident, most of his friends disappeared,” revealed his distraught sister Elizabeth Beukes.
She, however, reserved praises for Hansina Hinda, a committed close family friend. “She is so far the only person who cares about my brother’s sorry state and will always drop off parcels of food and other commodities when the need arises.”
Sadly, Bro Ewert perished from complications of his injuries at the Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek, last Friday. May his soul rest in eternal peace, in one piece.