Born Tunino Haskell on the 28th of May 1961 in the mother city, Cape Town, South Africa, young Tony was, like many other boys his age, playful and adventurous. He arrived in South West Namibia at a fairly young age in search of greener pastures.
Upon arrival in then-apartheid South West Africa (SWA), nowadays known as Namibia, the streetwise Capetonian found himself enticed by the cool breeze of the hypnotising Atlantic Ocean and resolved to find refuge in the harbour town of Walvis-Bay, approximately 395 kilometres north-west of Namibia’s commercial capital, Windhoek.
It did not take long for the new sheriff in town to acclimatise and make friends in his new habitat. Haskell found shelter in the modest Narraville Township, a section specifically tailored to provide comfortable accommodation for slightly middle-class Non-Europeans, holed up on the edges of the dunes.
Interestingly, Walvis Bay was home to a significant number of South African migrants from the coloured community, who are descendants of the harbour town and work as fishermen or in fish processing factories.
However, Haskell had to find something tangible to keep himself afloat during weekends and after hours. Even though he lived in Narraville, the brother would spend most of his free time in Kuisebmund Township. Haskell became an uncompromising community and political activist, vigorously advocating for equal rights.
Back in the day, politics was a very dangerous game, carrying consequences of potential serious bodily harm, with long jail terms looming or subsequently orchestrated death if need be. Marginalised locals cleverly circumvented the threats by using sports in general and football in particular as a vital tool to strategise and fight the evils of apartheid.
Haskell was at the forefront of many battles, occupying several high-profile portfolios. He coached Kuisebmund outfit Eleven Arrows with distinction and was later elevated to the plum position of club chairman.
Back in his adopted habitat, Narraville, the likeable socialite took the township’s leading football club Youngsters under his wing, mentoring an array of potential superstars shepherded by the highly gifted attacker and former Brave Warriors midfield kingpin Rudolf ‘Dolfie’ Campbell, Edwin ‘Wim’ van der Collf, Marius de Klerk, Doutie, Graham ‘Funco’ Swartz, Anthony van Wyk, Brandon ‘Uile’ Powell and many upcoming youngsters from that neck of the woods.
Even though the kind-hearted gentle giant has in the intervening years graduated to the modest posh residential establishment Langstrand for well-to-do seasiders, sandwiched between Walvis-Bay and Swakopmund, Haskell remains grounded as can be attested by his generosity and wellness towards the less privileged.
This amazing dude with the golden heart is the official financial backer of Narraville’s old-time campaigners, Kudus Rugby Club. Admittedly, Haskell was essentially born with a golden spoon in their mouth, turning almost everything he lays his hands on into gold.
The hard-working, tallish gentle giant courageously ventured into previously uncharted territory for non-Europeans in apartheid SWA. The calculated entrepreneur bravely knuckled down as he remarkably burned the midnight oil, defying all odds stacked against him.
Haskell bought machinery to start his own flourishing business, T&M Machine Tools (Pty) Ltd., specialising in commercial and industrial equipment supply.
Tellingly, Haskell masterfully and wisely used money derived via a loan from a local banking institution, obviously with strict conditions attached to the instalments of the advanced loan.
Additionally, T&M Machine Tools is very hands-on in community projects, sponsoring needy sports clubs with playing gear as part of its social responsibility programme.