April 22, 2002

Media Release: 'Walter will be sorely missed'

Gauteng Cricket Board

Highveld Strikers player Walter Bafana Masemula passed away in his sleep on Friday, 19 April 2002. He was presently in the United Kingdom playing club cricket in Surrey for the Brooks Cricket Club. The cause of death is yet unknown.

Walter was born on 23 October 1975 and grew up in Alexandra, Johannesburg.

Walter Bafana Masemula was one of the very first youngsters to play mini cricket, when this development programme was launched in 1986. In a very short period of time, he became a good fast bowler and this was noticed by Dr. Ali Bacher, who immediately sent him to the Australian Academy to fine tune his bowling.

Walter played in all local provincial trials, U/13, U/15 and U/19. He then went on to play in all provincial weeks, such as the Tread Well U/13, Ken Viljoen U/15 and the Beckwith U/19. He represented the then Transvaal schools at U/13, U/15 and U/19 levels.

He also represented South Africa U/15 in 1993 and U/19 in 1995, his highlight being the South Africa tour to England in 1995, where he shared the field with current national players, Neil McKenzie, David Terbrugge, Makhaya Ntini and Mark Boucher, to name a few.

Walter also played a major role in the meteoric rise of the Soweto Cricket Club. He bowled the club into the premier league in 1996 and to date the club is still a force to be reckoned with in the superior league. He had an excellent season for his club, scoring his career best of 65 runs and collecting 30 wickets.

Walter became the first black African to play for the provincial side in Gauteng making his First Class debut for Gauteng vs. Boland in 1998/99. He represented the then Transvaal and the current Highveld Strikers in both the Super Sport four-day game and the Standard Bank limited overs competition. He was a part of the side that won the Super Sport series in the 1999/2000 season.

Walter was a role model and a hero in the townships, paving the way for further black children to take up cricket.

He worked at the Gauteng Cricket Board in assisting with the preparation of wickets from 1996 to 1999 and coached in the townships in his spare time. He was often used as a motivational speaker for youngsters learning the game.

He was one of Dr Ali Bacher's favourite "sons" and is a great loss not only to Gauteng Cricket, but to South African cricket as a whole.

Walter will be sorely missed.

The Gauteng Cricket Board will be holding a memorial service in honour of Walter. Details to follow.