Kit Markotter: A remarkable man
Kit Markotter is now well into his 30th year as chairman of the Johannesburg Amateur Boxing Organisation.
He would like to slow down, he says, but it’s not easy to stay away from boxing.
He was recently re-elected as chairman of the organisation that he has also served as secretary for the past 33 years. And he is still vice-chairman and a life member of the East Rand Veterans Boxing Association.
As the only person who received Springbok and Protea colours for managing SA amateur teams, he has also been awarded life membership of at least seven other boxing bodies, including Sanabo, the SA National Amateur Boxing Organisation.
Not a bad track record for someone who was not interested in boxing and rather disliked the sport when he was a youngster.
When he was at school, Markotter played football. He turned out for a number of teams before joining the Ramblers Football Club in Johannesburg.
After his first season at Ramblers he asked his brother Pat and another boxer, Johnny Watson, if he could work out at their Troyeville Boxing Club to keep fit for soccer.
As the father of a young family, the 25-year-old Markotter was not over-eager to get involved in a new sport, but
after a few months he agreed to take part in a tournament.
It was tougher than football. In his first fight he was knocked down three times in the first round and twice in the second. But thanks to his fitness he went on to win by a knockout.
Little did he know then that the bout would turn into a love affair with boxing; an affair that would go on for the next 54 years during which he would be involved as a boxer, trainer, manager, official and administrator. One should add ambassador, too.
After playing football for 17 years, he had only one small medal to show for it; for being a member of a team that finished as runners-up in a final of a competition. But as a boxer he won a number of cups in 61 bouts from 1958 to 1967.
Fighting at featherweight, he won Johannesburg and District titles in 1960, 1961 and 1962 and also won the Border and Transvaal titles in 1962.
His surname may not provide a clue, but Markotter was born in Paddington, London. The date was September 27, 1933.
He was named Johannes Christopher, after his grandfathers. The nickname Kit apparently comes from Christopher.
His father, who was born in Uniondale in the Cape Province, had gone to London in 1931 to work for an insurance company. There he met Kit’s mother, who was working at another insurance company.
In 1935 his father decided to return to South Africa and they settled in Johannesburg.
TRAINING AND MATCHMAKING
Almost three decades later, with a growing family and a secure post office job, Kit gave up boxing in 1968 and began helping with the training and matchmaking at the Yeoville Amateur Boxing Club.
In 1971 he was appointed treasurer of the Malvern Amateur Boxing Club. It was the start of more than four decades as a sports administrator.
At one time he served on twelve boxing committees of which he chaired eight.
Among these were the Southern Transvaal Boxing Association and Southern Transvaal Boxing Federation, as well as the Transvaal Boxing Association and Transvaal Boxing Federation.
Since 1975, Markotter has been the manager of 19 regional, provincial and national teams.
In 1986 he received Springbok colours when he managed the SA team that toured Paraguay in South America. He was also manager of the Springbok team at the 1989 Interstate Games and of the 1992 Protea team at the Mozambique Independence tournament.
It made him the only person to have been awarded Springbok and Protea colours as manager of a national boxing team.
Phillip Holiday, Fransie Botha, Hekkie Budler, Chris van Heerden, Gary Murray and Harry Simon were members of amateur teams that Markotter managed. They all went on to win “world” titles.
Among the highlights of his involvement as team manager was his involvement with fighters such as Hawk Makepula, Pierre Coetzer, Baby Jake Matlala, Silence Mabuza, Brett Taylor, Dingaan Thobela and others who gained honours as amateurs and professionals.
TRAVELLED TO 23 COUNTRIES
Thanks to boxing, Markotter says, he had the privilege of travelling to 23 countries.
His services did not go unnoticed. He received merit awards and life membership of the Malvern Boxing Club, the Southern Transvaal Boxing Association, the Southern Transvaal Boxing Federation, the Transvaal Boxing Association and the Transvaal Boxing Federation and the SA Amateur Boxing Association, as well as life membership of the SA National Amateur Boxing Organisation.
And in 2000 he was the first recipient of the King Korn Golden Vest Award for his services to amateur boxing.
Markotter says all these awards and honours would not have been possible without the help of his family and the assistance of his colleagues in boxing and, most importantly, the boxers.
One of Markotter’s special memories concerns the day when Brian Mitchell, a member of the Malvern Boxing Club, promised him he would win the WBA junior lightweight title on Kit’s birthday. He did so on September 27, 1986 when he defeated Alfredo Layne at Sun City.
Showing the same loyalty and diligence that made him such an outstanding sports administrator, Markotter worked for what was then known as the General Post Office.
After 41 years, he retired in December 1992 as a postmaster in Johannesburg.
His wife, Jean, died on June 5, 2010. They had two sons and a daughter and Markotter adores his eight beautiful granddaughters.