Book review: The Robert Marawa Story

Gqimm Shelele: The Robert Marawa Story

Mandy Wiener

Pan Macmillan

Review: Phiri Cawe

If Robert Marawa was a boxer, he would have been Muhammad Ali in his heyday.

He has ducked so many jabs and bullets on his way up and survived the brutality of politicians and untouchable soccer bosses.

Marawa is always guns blazing in all his sport radio programmes.

He has won many fights but on the way there have been challenges, like illnesses.

In his tell-all book, he paints a picture of growing up in KwaZulu-Natal and ending up in Johannesburg.

There were times when he was made to look ordinary and yet the boy from Nkandla was ahead of his peers when it came to knowledge of all sports codes.

His openness and superior understanding of many other things made him enemy number one of sport ministers, administrators and club owners. He ruffled many feathers and that led him to being unceremoniously fired at the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and the paid channel, SuperSport.

He also tells how in soccer corners you will be told no one fights the chairman of the league, Dr Irvin Khoza, but he never backed away, and instead took on the Iron Duke.

One of his interesting fights were those with sports ministers including Fikile Mbalula, the late Steve Tshwete and Ngconde Balfour.

The fearless Marawa even names and shames individuals who were hell-bent on silencing him on the airwaves.

He calls SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe a coward for ghosting him when it was time for contract renewal negotiations.

Marawa fought against the abuse of women in the public broadcaster and M-Net. He says women were forced into spending time with a director in exchange for regular appearances on the schedule or being given more shifts.

No one refuses Patrice Motsepe’s money but Robert refused to work for the mining magnate.

This book is a pager-turner and hard to put down once you start reading it. Mandy Wiener has done a good job.

Gqimm Shelele, as Robert signs out of his programme.