by Aiden Daries
Alastair Weakley, a former teacher, professor, lawyer, Old Rhodian, and sporting legend is
being honoured by the University’s UK trust through the establishment of the ‘Ally Weakley Memorial Scholarship.’ Alistair was against racism on all fronts, and as a result of this, he challenged the South African rugby board by supporting non-racial rugby. During this time, South Africa was a divided nation, and in challenging the board and the Apartheid authorities he was essentially an advocate.
He also coached younger disadvantaged people in townships, and both established and taught the first IsiXhosa language classes at St Andrews College in Makhanda.
The scholarship, aimed at sponsoring young athletes, is sure to bolster the University’s
sporting attraction. The scholarship has been set up ahead of the 30th anniversary of
Weakley’s tragic death. Weakley was ambushed and gunned down in 1993 in the
Singanwana region of the Transkei for his retaliation to the assassination of Chris Hani.
The UK trust is set to pump in an estimated R3 million, with half of the money coming from
fundraisers. The Scholarship was set up to give rugby players the chance to both study at
Rhodes and be inducted into the Rhodes rugby first team. The rugby team at Rhodes
retained its place in the Varsity shield after avoiding relegation but many seem to believe
that the current crop of players needs to be revitalized. The Ally Weakley Scholarship should
allow for this to happen.
The other sporting scholarship offered by Rhodes University is the Sutherland Old Rhodian
sports bursary, which is awarded to a first-year student who has excelled in a sport during
their matric year.