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Stanley Hlekani Sono (1936 – )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Silver
Stanley Hlekani Sono (1936 – ) Awarded for:
His excellent achievements in football and boxing and contributing to the development of boxing administration and refereeing in South Africa.
Profile of Stanley Hlekani Sono

Stanley Hlekani Sono, one of South Africa’s most prolific sports all-rounders as a player and administrator, was born in Western Native Township, near Sophiatown, in 1936.

Spanning a lifetime of service to sport, Sono was the first black administrator and coach to be awarded the State President’s Sports Merit Award in 1980 and, in 2006, the Lifetime Boxing Award for meritorious service.

Sono was born to Gideon and Shalati Sono into a sporting family.

His eldest brother, the late Edward “Dr Zanoph” Sono excelled at athletics and soccer. Sono’s nephew, the son of his cousin, the late Eric “Scarra-Bamuza” Sono, is the well-known Ephraim “Jomo” Sono.

Sono received his early education at Amalgated Primary School and Madibane High School. As a boy scout, he attended the World Jamboree in 1947.

In addition to his record-setting talents as a sprinter, cricketer and rugby player, Sono was nicknamed “Stan Matthews” after the ace British right-winger for his soccer prowess.

Sono played for Imperial Air Force Football Club and was selected to represent the Marema-Tlou team in the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association in 1956. He toured the then Rhodesia with this team and captained it in 1957.

In 1957, Sono matriculated from Pimville High School and worked as a sports reporter for Bantu World from 1958 to 1960.

After joining the Western Young Tigers Football Club of Orlando Shanty Town, Sono went on to star for Moroka Swallows where he played alongside legends such as Difference Mbanya and Elkim “Pro” Khumalo in the heydays of the South African Soccer League. He later became secretary of Moroka Swallows.

Sono also became assistant secretary of the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association and helped found professional refereeing in South Africa in his position as first secretary of the Referee Association of Southern Africa.

Sono took up boxing administration while being a sports organiser with the Johannesburg City Council and came to be known as “Mr Boxing”, pioneering the organisation of black boxing in South Africa.

He was a senior coach of the first black team to take part in a multiracial championship as part of the South African Games in 1971.

In 1978, Sono received Springbok colours as trainer of the team that fought the United States Golden Gloves.

He became a referee and judge in 1982, overseeing top local and international bouts.

Sono held innumerable positions in boxing administration, right up to the founding of the South African National Amateur Boxing Organisation in 1992 and the National Boxing Control Commission in 1993. He was elected chair of the commission from 2000 to 2003.

A qualified sports practitioner and administrator, Sono has a diploma in Sports Organisation and Management, a Recreation Management qualification from Potchefstroom University (now North-West University) and a national certificate for sports coaches from the South African Sports Foundation.

A qualified athletics coach, Sono also holds an athletics starters diploma and may be credited for unearthing such talents as “Loop en Val” Motshwarateu.

Still active in boxing administration, Stanley Hlekani Sono holds clinics for judges, referees and coaches, continuing his lifetime commitment to sports development in South Africa.