Warrior Heritage

HERITAGE DAY! As much as purists and the architects of the idea may hate it when folk refer to it as “Braai Day” they should probably accept that they’re fighting a losing battle.

Noble intentions of setting aside a day to celebrate all the diverse communities that make up our country and their contributions to our cultural melting pot have pretty much been hijacked by all communities concerned who’ve identified their love for the ‘braai” as a rallying point for common identity and eschewed all differences to call it “Braai Day”. Objective achieved though, surely? What’s in a name…?

Did the “we all love a braai” narrative apply to Heritage Day for the Warriors players we wondered? We spoke to them about what the day meant for them


While all the players we spoke to agreed that “the braai” was something that all South Africans loved and treasured and that they would never turn down, it was only skipper Jon Jon Smuts who nominated it as his favourite meal overall.

Basheer Walters was adamant that “koeksusters and cabbage bredie” ( hopefully not together!) was what got his tastebuds singing whilst Matthew Breetzke opted for an equally unusual combination in “pizza and curry”.

Lutho Sipamla favoured a more traditional Italian combination in “pizza and pasta” and Anrich Nortje couldn’t make up his mind between pizza and “a good steak”. Yaseen Vallie, curiously revealed that “tomato food” (!) was his favourite and Sithembiso Langa was of the opinion that “nothing beats a good mutton stew”. There’s no doubt that Sisanda Magala’s mum will be beaming when she hears that her son declared “mom’s home cooking” to be superior to anything that might be found on any menu.

Childhood Celebrations

Whilst the players may have made different dietary choices, when it came to the question of “How were holidays and special occasions celebrated in your community when you were growing up? All gave exactly the same answer, they replied: “With family and friends”


The vast majority of the players were born within the geographical confines of what makes up the Warriors franchise territory – if not Port Elizabeth then East London, Uitenhage or Grahamstown. The sole exception was Yaseen Vallie who was born in Cape Town.

Early Days

Quizzed on how old they were when they first started playing cricket, Jon Jon, Matthew and Anrich were first out the gates at the age of 4, Sine said he was 6, Sithembilo and Lutho began playing at age 7, Sisanda and Yaseen said they were 9, whilst Basheer emerged as the late bloomer of the group, only taking up the sport when aged 13.

Notwithstanding any similarities or differences between them however, all the players were quite definite about a goal they have in common: To create a team that will be the pride of everyone in their community.

“That goes beyond just winning trophies. It goes to creating a culture of respect and integrity and sportsmanship and about how we conduct ourselves”

We forget exactly who it was who made that last comment. It could have been any one of them really.

They’re busy building their own Heritage