How important is it to know where you have come from, who your ancestors are and what they achieved?
Similarly how much value do you attach to keeping records of your organisation or sports body that reflects its history?
I believe it is extremely important to know the history of your sport, your club, province and National Association. Likewise, the International Federation and Continental Federations need to track their history and retain records.
In January 2001 “The History of the African Hockey Federation”, written by the late, Gamal Shirazi, former AfHF President was published.
At one stage the South African Hockey Association were custodians of the best collection of hockey books in the world – known as the “Malherbe Collection”. Subsequently it was loaned to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – although I am not sure whether they believed that hockey was in need of scientific research! Has this priceless collection been lost?
Don Perry, former SA National Selector, and former CEO of SA Hockey, also often considered one of the unluckiest men not to represent SA at Hockey, has his own collection of memorabilia including fascinating photos.
Did you know that world renowned author Sir Laurens van der Post, played provincial hockey for Natal in the 1920s. I certainly did not! How many other hockey people have similar collections? Does the International Hockey Federation have up to date records and a properly recorded history?
These interesting facts and pieces of history add an important dimension to the fabric of hockey history. Those people who have old photos or memorabilia of South African, African or World Hockey events and are willing to donate these can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to find an appropriate “home” for them.
Those “elders” who can hand down the history and tell the legendary stories may not be around for too much longer – let’s not delay.
I fear that unless we preserve this history and chronicle it, the next generation may never know the full story about the journey and how the game evolved.
Steve Jaspan is the Chairman of the FIH High Performance and Coaching Advisory Panel. The South African native contributes a monthly column to the FIH website called Viewpoint.
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