SA mourns death of Kaunda Ntunja

SA lost one of its best rugby commentators, Kaunda Ntunja, 38, who succumbed to Covid-19 this week.

The tragic news was confirmed by his sister, Tando, on social media on Monday morning.

It is with deep sadness that I confirm the passing of our beloved brother, Kaunda Ntunja, earlier today in East London, Eastern Cape,” Tando wrote.

As you can imagine, we are still trying to make sense of this tragic news and we ask for your love, care and discretion as we prepare to lay my big brother to rest.”

The multi award-winning rugby broadcaster has changed the face of commentary, making him a household name in Xhosa commentary. Even though many people from other races could not understand a word, his passion and excitement were universal. Even when Siya Kolisi ran out on to the field for his first game as captain of the Springboks in 2018, Ntunja provided an iconic commentary of that special occasion in the history of South African sport.

Ntunja was considered one of the most animated and popular commentators in South African rugby and was a household name through his work as the anchor on the SuperSport Phaka show. As a player he played flank, captained the SA Schools side in 2000 and was part of the Free State Cheetahs side that won the Currie Cup in 2005.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said: “Kaunda left an indelible mark on the local rugby landscape and we will miss seeing his broad smile and hearing his voice at our rugby in future – this is a tragic loss, he left us too soon,” he said.

Our thoughts are with the Ntunja family and all his friends and colleagues on their loss – the South African rugby community is poorer without Kaunda Ntunja.

By Maxwell Levine

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