FNB TUT made headlines earlier this year when they secured the services of one-time Springbok centre Kaya Malotana to head their rugby team in this FNB Varsity Shield season. We took a trip down memory lane and got up close and personal with the 44-year-old.
When the name Kaya Malotana is mentioned, what are the first three words that should come tom people’s minds?
I hope people will always know me for my willingness to serve, my kindness and caring for the next person.
Tell us about where you grew up and what your family life was like.
I grew up in a village called Zwartwater where truly the saying 'it takes a village to raise a child' really meant every adult in the village was your parent and they would discipline you in the same manner your blood parents would ... but, importantly, they loved you in the same manner as your parents.
I had a dad who kept us laughing always so I became the joker in the family of three sisters and no brother. So yes, I have found memories of growing up.
How did your parents influence you in your rugby career and your life generally?
The sacrifices my parents made so I could have better educational opportunities is what encouraged me to be daring in everything I did.
I come from two parents who live the value of serving other people without reservation nor expectation of reward so I never had to be taught that anywhere else. My parents treat a human being with the utmost respect, care, trust and love whether they know them or not and I learned that from them too.
Where did you go to school?
I moved to Mthatha [then Umtata] and went to Fairfield Senior Secondary. Then I moved to Butterworth and went to New Horizon High School. From there I went to St Andrew's College in Grahamstown before I completed at Queen's College Boys High in Queenstown.
Who have been your strongest influences in life?
My strongest influences in life have been my parents, my wife, my kids and the small circle of friends and family I keep close to me.
How did you end up as a Springbok?
I'm not quite sure how I ended up at the Springboks but I always enjoyed the way I played rugby and how competitive I was. I wasn't the biggest on the field but I always made sure I made the biggest tackles and a good run of form probably got me noticed. [Malotana was selected in the 1999 Rugby World Cup squad, during which he played a Test match against Spain.]
What led you to your TV career after your playing days?
The TV career was not a planned thing. I just got a call one day to go commentate on an Under-21 match at Loftus Versfeld then time went by and SABC called me to do the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Then I did the 2007 World Cup, and then in 2011 I was called by SuperSport through Kaunda Ntunja who is a fellow commentator as well.
How would friends and acquaintances describe you?
I'm an easy-go-lucky kind of person - I get along with most people. I love for people to be happy and feel valued and are able to feel growth especially in character when they are around me. So if they could describe me like that I'd feel like I'm living some of my purpose.
What are you most proud of accomplishing thus far in your life?
My proudest accomplishment thus far is that I'm still believing and am very passionate about serving other people before myself and this keeps me honest in how I do things and helps me grow daily to be the best example I can be for my kids.
What would you do differently if you had a chance?
If I had a do over I would probably want to study in the area of psychology. I'm very intrigued by the makeup and function of the human psyche.
Share with us something about yourself that you want to improve...
What I would improve about myself is to read more than I currently am; not procrastinate as much as I still do and definitely learn to make killer potjiekos. My wife loves my cooking so I feel I could add variety.
Describe a scene of your vision for the future.
I most certainly wish to one day coach the Springbok team and be able to influence most South Africans positively through that platform.
COACHING PROFILE Kaya Malotana
Full name: Kayalethu Malotana
Born: 30/1/76 in Zwartwater
Playing career: (position - centre) 1996-99 Border Bulldogs, 1999-2000 Cats
Previous coaching role: Director of Coaching - Queens College
Most difficult FNB Varsity Shield rule: "Executing effective kicking strategies because opposition can call a mark outside their 22 if the ball doesn't find grass."