SA’s forgotten tennis star to finally be honored

Anthony was a gifted tennis player who won multiple provincial and national titles during the prime of his career in the early to mid-1980s. However, due to the color of his skin, he was not eligible to represent his country.

Raymond (second from left) with his son Raylyn, daughter Lynray and wife Lynne at his 65th birthday in November 2021. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – Like many black South African athletes who played during the dark days of apartheid, Raymond Anthony’s story is filled with unanswered questions of what could have been. In any other country, he might have thrived with his talent.

Anthony was a gifted tennis player who won multiple provincial and national titles during the prime of his career in the early to mid-1980s. However, due to the color of his skin, he was not eligible to represent his country. Perhaps he could have been a household name he had lived in a different era.

Today, he is barely known in his home country, an indication of unfulfilled potential, cruelly thwarted by segregation. His family wants the unsung great to be celebrated while he is still alive. They petitioned Tennis South Africa (TSA) to present him with national colors – that he most probably would have earned in a fair and just society.

Raymond Anthony during his playing days. Picture: Supplied

TSA have agreed to present him with a national blazer on 18 June at an event organized by the family in recognition of what he might have accomplished, if not for the marginalization of black, colored and Indian people.

“The presentation of this blazer will thus confirm that Raymond could have represented South Africa in the Davis Cup Team competition had it not been for the inequitable race laws that prevailed in the country at the time of his eligibility,” said Andre Homan, TSA CEO. .

These days, Anthony is a shadow of his former self. He suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is often forgetful. There isn’t much that he recognizes but his loved ones say his face lights up when his attention is turned to tennis.

“I don’t want to have this event as a memorial for him one day. Raymond was one of the best tennis players in South Africa and they deprived him of building a legacy for himself. Nobody knows about him… This should have happened many years ago, ”said his wife, Lynne Anthony.

She wants his legacy to live on long after he is gone. She has been fighting for his recognition by the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture for at least 20 years. While her husband’s opportunities to excel were thwarted by authorities, he was able to succeed with the little he had and she believes he is more than deserving of wider acknowledgment.

An event commemorating in a manner befitting Anthony’s life and career has proven costly for the family and they seek donations from the public to help with funding the occasion.

To get in touch with the family and make a contribution, contact Lynne via email – lynneanthony9@gmail.com.

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