THANDO MANANA was the third black African player to don a Springbok jersey after unification in 1992, when he made his debut in 2000 in a tour game against Argentina.
His first book Being A Black Springbok- The Thando Manana Story
– reflects on his unfortunate upbringing, growing up with well-known Port Elizabeth drug lord, rejected by his father early in his life and what made him love rugby with passion besides being classified as ‘white sport’, amongst others.
His route to the top was unpredictable and unusual. From his humble beginnings in township of New Brighton, PE, Thando grew to become one of the grittiest loose forwards of SA rugby ranks, while earning a reputation as tough-tackling lock and later open side flanker, was astonishingly rapid, especially for a player of colour at the time.
Within two years’ of picking up a rugby ball, he represented Eastern Province at Craven Week, and by 2000 he was a Springbok.
The tall, bulky Thando- whose shoulders are broad and handshake is the human incarnation of the ‘
Jaws of Life’, is now a regular on Metro FM’s sport show the hard-hitting ‘Room Dividers’ alongside other black rugby greats, tells his story with refreshing candour he has become synonyomus with as rugby commentator and pundit.
According to author Sibusido Mjikeliso, ‘he does not smile when you first meet’ but is gentle giant.
The book is available for R285 at all leading book shops countrywide.