Dedicated to Equal Opportunities in Sport, South Africa mourns the passing of Ganief Fataar

A man of high principles, an example to all

It is with great sadness that the death of Ganief Fataar is announced; suffering from cancer, he passed away on Thursday 9th November.

In the sport of table tennis, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a member of the ITTF Board of Directors.

The founder of Anchors Table Tennis Club, he occupied the position of Chair of the Transvaal Table Tennis Association and the Central Gauteng Table Tennis Association, before becoming President of the South African Table Tennis Board and Chair of Zone VI for the African Table Tennis Federation.

Most notable are the positions held in Transvaal and with the South African Table Tennis Board, both organisations promoted non-racial policies, dear to the heart of Ganief Fataar.

He was dedicated to equal opportunities for all in sport, living in the era of apartheid which promoted a system of institutionalised racial segregation; he emerged a most influential figure in the unification of the non-racial South African Table Tennis Board and the whites only South African Table Tennis Union.

The signing of the declaration of intent on Sunday 21st July 1991 to unite the two bodies into one controlling organisation for table tennis in South Africa, was one that gave Ganief Fataar great satisfaction.

Present for the occasion was Hans Giesecke, a member of the ITTF Executive Committee and George Segun, the President of the African Table Tennis Federation alongside Fikrou Kidane, Special Advisor to the International Olympic Committee on African Affairs.

Immediately, Ganief followed at 50:50 quota system in order to address the situation of white privilege.

Later in October 2007, he was prominent in the organisation of the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals and ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Cape Town.

Successful, the events paved the way for Cape Town to host the 2016 World Junior Championships, followed earlier this year by a WTT Contender tournament and the World Championships Finals.

Furthermore, within South Africa he established a Table Tennis Academy in Pretoria; Shane Overmeyer, Luke Abrahams, Terence Mathole, Zodwa Maphanga and Khanyisile Madlada being notable members.

Sadly, no longer with us, it is not just in table tennis he made an impact; Mark Alexander, the President of South African Rugby was quick to play tribute.

“(He was) committed, dedicated, and a highly capable administrator as well a steadfast advocate for equal opportunities, for all South African” summed up his epitaph.

The legacy lives on, the International Table Tennis Federation extends deepest condolences to family and friends.