RIP: Full-time for Piet Malan
Piet Malan was the oldest living Springbok till the early hours of Sunday, 5 July 2015 when he died peacefully. He was 96 years of age.
Malan was a wonderful man – a man with great interest and zest for rugby which lasted him all his days. He was an active man, driving down from Gauteng to Stellenbosch to see his grandson, Ernst Joubert, son of Annelize, play. A few years ago he and his wife were still going dancing.
A schoolmaster, he has a legacy which few take note of. The Craven Week was his idea. He thought it up, he proposed it and it became a reality in 1964, as he desired.
In 1964, the South African Rugby Board celebrated its 75th jubilee and there were various events to celebrate it. Schoolmaster Malan's idea was that an interprovincial schools week be founded as the schools contribution to the celebrations.
It happens every year and will happen again in Stellenbosch on 13 July 2015, which would a fitting occasion to honour the energetic, cheerful;, dedicated man.
Pieter Malan was born in Parys and eventually went to Potchefstroom Gimnasium, and then on to Potchefstroom University on his way to becoming a schoolmaster. While there he played rugby, picked for Western Transvaal when he was just 20. While there he made friends with Pa Pelser who came to the Normal College (now the Potchefstroom College of Education) and the two played together as flanks for Western Transvaal and then for Transvaal. (PA, whose names were Pieter Andries, was five years younger than Piet.) The two of them became great friends and did much for rugby. This was during the war when many rugby players came to Potchefstroom to do their training before going up North.
Armed with a BSc degree Malan went to teach in Johannesburg and joined Diggers, then a powerful club in Transvaal. He played 33 times for Transvaal between 1945 and 1951, when he retired.
In 1949 the All Blacks came on tour to South Africa and lost all four Tests in the series. Malan played against them three times, twice for Transvaal whom he captained the first time when New Zealand won 6-3. The loose forwards were Piet, Pa and Hennie Muller. The third match was the fourth Test at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth, the Crusaders' Ground. Malan was on the flank with the Springboks' new captain on the other flank – Basil Kenyon. The Springboks won 11-8.
Before the Test a Karroo farmer arrived at the Springboks' hotel with a live springbok on a lead. The idea was that the animal springbok would lead the human Springboks onto the field, which happened.
Malan became a famous schoolmaster at Helpmekaar and later at Fakkel. He was the vice-principal of Fakkel when he left teaching and became the first director of sport at Potchefstroom university
Piet was born on !3 February 1919 to Philippus and Hester Malan. He married Johanna (Hansie) Bartlett and they had four daughters – Ann Elizabeth, Hester Cornelia, Johanna Maria and Pietro. All four of his daughters were at his deathbed in Wilgeheuwel Hospital in Roodepoort.
Piet enjoyed good health and a clear mind till two weeks before his death when he was admitted to the hospital.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, their daughters, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Piet Malan's passing means that Cecil Moss is now the oldest living Springbok and in good shape at 90.