Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
The Northern Cape Cricket (NCC) family has been shocked by the news of the passing of the First Chairperson of Griqualand West Cricket after unity in 1991. Desmond John Schonegevel was born on the 9 October 1934 in Bloemfontein and passed away 6 July 2021 in Kimberley.
Uncle Des as he was affectionately known was a doyen, a father figure of cricket in the Northern Cape. He was very instrumental in leading the unity process with people like Mr. Mike Doherty, Mr. Barlin Moodley, the late Mr. Brian Hermanus, Mr. Abe Williams and others in this neck of the woods.
This quiet, unassuming gentlemen got in and played the game with a passion rarely encountered. Uncle Des had played a hundred first class games for Free State and Griqualand West with a highest score 151 for Free State against Border in the 1963-64 season. His highest score for Griqualand West 138 not out against Natal B. He represented SA Universities in 1953 and obtained a coaching certificate from the MCC.
Knowing the man, his accolades on the sports field was overshadowed by Des the family man. He loved his family dearly, his late wife Leonie, sons Wayne and Shane and their families was the pinnacle of his life.
After his playing days he remained involved in the game by becoming a very astute administrator. In the 1970s and 1980s he started coaching and organizing cricket games in the township. He had assisted with the establishment of the Yorkshire Cricket Club in Galeshewe township and helped many a cricketer to play this game that he loved so dearly.
Uncle Des had served cricket in the Northern Cape in various capacities with distinction. He will be fondly remembered for a phrase he coined in the difficult days of unity of “We only do what is good for Griquas.”
NCC extends its sincere condolences to his sons Wayne and Shane and the extended Schonegevel family, to his friends and his wider cricket family.
Uncle Des was a true gentleman, one of the kindest people one could ever meet, he was a true son of the Northern Cape soil and his gentle nature, sincerity, honesty and commitment will be sorely missed.
Today we raise our caps and salute a sportsman, an administrator, and a gentleman. Rest easy Uncle Des.