SA Rugby on Wednesday paid tribute to former Western Province president Tobie Titus , whose six-decade tenure in sport came to an end at the governing body's Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday.
Titus, better known in the South African rugby community as "Mr T" or "Oom Tobie", started his involvement in sport at the height of apartheid during the 1960s.
He was involved at the University of the Western Cape and spent a lot of his time and energy fighting racial segregation in sport.
"From an early stage in his life, 'Mr T' decided to use his time and skills in sports administration. He was elected as the youngest president of the UWC Rugby Club, after which he served as president of the Tygerberg Rugby Union, whom he also represented during the unification talks with Western Province in the early 1990s," SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said via a press statement.
"Mr Titus' involvement in the upliftment of previously disadvantaged communities went beyond the rugby field - he did the same as the Dean of Students at the then Peninsula Technikon (now part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology)." Through his involvement in tertiary education, Titus had the opportunity to mentor many young people, who today still play an important role as administrators and leaders in various spheres of the South African sport industry. His influence was felt at international level too.
As a founding member of the South African Student Sports Union (Sassu), Titus served as chairperson for a total of seven years between 1995 and 2004, during which period he represented university sport globally.
"He is regarded as a sporting visionary and a respected leader in the world of university sport and was instrumental in the establishment of the highly-popular Varsity Cup," Alexander added.
"This competition, which kicked off in 2008, has played an enormous role in not only changing the local rugby landscape, but it also had a massive impact on the lives of thousands of young rugby players."
Within the higher echelons of South African rugby, Titus served as president of Western Province, a position he vacated in 2012 to serve on the executive council of SA Rugby. He has also held the positions as chairperson of SA Rugby's Youth and Student Rugby Committee, as well as the Transformation Committee.
"His second term on the Exco has now come to an end and it's time for 'Mr T' to take a well-earned rest," said Alexander.
"As one of the longest-serving administrators in the history of South African rugby, he has overcome many challenges, always acting with poise and respect. Mr Titus brought passion, commitment and strong leadership to rugby in South Africa and his contributions will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on for many generations to come."
- Compiled by Sport24 staff