TRIBUTE TO HASHIEM RASDIEN (FIETAS)

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By Yusuf “CHUBB” Garda

chubb

Amongst the eminent South African sportsmen of the Twentieth Century , Hashiem Rasdien is far the most outstanding .
He is a rare sporting phenomenon.
He reached great heights in soccer, cricket and rugby.
He belonged to the Golden Age of Fietas.
We may never see the like of him again.

Hashim Rasdien was born into the beautiful and robust atmosphere of Fietas on the 29th April 1934.
He shares his birthday with daughters Zaynab and Abeda
Some coincidence .
Some planning.

It is in Fietas that Hashien finds fulfillment.
It is in Fietas that Hashien grows from infant to toddler
to teenager and into graceful sportsperson.

It is here that Nature and Nurture meet face to face
It is the fusion of Passion and Poetry ……..the
Earthy and the sublime .

Hashim had the rugged looks of Richard Burton
And a voice that was sonorous and gentle and lyrical.
Fietas was to Hashim, what Denmark was to Hamlet.
Fietas without Hashiem was like Denmark without Hamlet

His early schooling was at the Krause Street Primary School.
Later he attended the Krause St. High School .
And finally he studied to be a teacher at the ETC
EuAfrican Training Centre.

Hashiem’s early cricket was in the backyards of Fietas
And in the streets of Fietas.
His talent was obvious and overflowing.
He was destined for Greatness.

At school and in the streets,
His reputation was established.
He was the wonderboy of Sports:
cricket, soccer and rugby. –
from the roaring furnace of School Sports
Hashim Rasdien emerged into the
Bright light of competitive sports

He is a product of Fietas, –
the Rasdien Family and a host of mentors….
Amiesant Gasant Saleh. Doolie Rubidge,
Amien Variawa , Soppie Omar and Agie Kirsten.
With ancestry and lineage of this class and calibre ,
He was destined for greatness.

Hashiem married Zubeida Ganchi on the 24th July 1955.
They have 3 daughters and a son.

Hashiems sporting career grew in leaps and bounds,
It grew in different directions….cricket and soccer and
Rugby.

He had an abundance of talent but could he find
a larger venue beyond the boundaries of his
Backyard and street.
That venue was the Fietas Ground known as Queenspark
Sports Ground… here was played cricket and soccer and
Rugby from morning till evening , thru summer and
Winter – thru the Eternity of Childhood.

Queenspark was our Lords and Wembley and Wimbledon all rolled into one.

Here we saw the great Amiesant Gasant Saleh
Whose stentorian voice echoed and reverberated thru the
Corridors and streets of Fietas.
Here we saw the great and evergreen Doelie Rubidge
Whose swing and length and control made him the
Most feared bowler of the Age.
Here was Aggie Kirsten whose style was that of the
Elegant ballet-dancer.
Then we had Ameen Variawa whose delicate strokeplay
And drives were pure poetry in motion.

Onto this lone stage came one lone frail sportsman
Hashiem Rasdiem.
Hashiems warmth and gentleness and kindness
Melted the hardest of hearts.
Gasant softened up and so did Harry Martin
and Shorty Bagus and Dote Hassan.
They saw in this young man Hashiem,
A Renaiisance man;
A great all – rounder and the maturing of a Genius.

His batting was audacious and pugnacious but he could be equally stylish and gentle and lyrical in his strokeplay
His fielding established him immediately as amongst
Best Fielders in the World.
You had to see him to believe it .
Our talk sounds like some Midsummer madness .
We shall remain silent.
We have seen what we have seen.

His cricket and soccer was full of the promise
Of the new Dawn.
His life was a perpetual summer – full of joy
And happiness.
His bounty was never empty.
From the past a host of images come back
in the vivid colours of the moment.
They represent the Images of the Age and the
Spirit of the Age.

It was at Natalspruit Soccer Ground in front
Of a packed stadium, in a match been South Africa Malays
And South African Indians , Hashiem Rasdien
Collected the ball gently near the half-way line,
Forty meters away, moved gently to the right with skill and finesse, and saw the tiniest of opening………..
and struck the ball like a thunderbolt.
It moved in an instant to the left hand corner and beat the Indian goalkeeper V.C.Moodley , the one-eyed wonder
Whose lunging dive could not stop the ball
As it sped into the corner.
The crowd had seen a miraculous goal. .

Barely ten minutes later Hashiem Rasdien
Was again over thirty – five meters away.
Once again he struck the ball with ferocity and
Venom – it split the Heavens into thunder –
And beat again the hapless VC Moodley
Who recoiled in futile fashion as the ball entered the net.

Lightning had struck twice .
This time it split the Heavens into thunder.
VC Moodley was demolished .
And Hashiem Rasdien’s star was in the ascendancy.

The crowd stood in unison to give a standing ovation
to this commanding performance.
He was hugged by team-mates and supporters.
It was an ovation fit for a royal prince.

Such is my memory recollected in moments
Of tranquilitty.
*****
But around him the storm was gathering –
We were all overtaken by the dark night of racial arrogance .
There were midnight arrests and detention
And torture and travail .

Fietas was gradually demolished and destroyed –
But the spirit of the people of Fietas could never be destroyed
The spirt of Fietas lives on in the minds and memories
Of men and women and children.

There was sorrow in the land .
The fabric of community living was torn apart.
The first sights of the gathering storm
Heralded the coming of a storm of
Majestic proportions.

It was like the birthpangs of a new dawn –
the birthpangs that heralded the dawn and maturation
of the Nascent Democracy.

The dialogue between past and present was fractured
And fragmented.
What we had to do was to knit together this broken
Tapestry of our history.

If ever we have to re-claim the glory of our past history
Then we shall have to re-claim the Queenspark Ground –
a historical site –
Name it the Doolie Rubidge Stadium or the Gasant Salie
Ground or the Hashiem Rasdien Indoor Stadium .

The Culture of sports and the movie house dominated
The Fietas Life : its influence on us and on Hashiem was immense and beyond question.
Fietaas Culture was our world of Entertainment.
And Fietass was the Capital of South Africa .

Youngsters had found in Hashiem Rasdien a role model – the paradigm of outstanding sportsmanship.

Often Hashiem followed his own instincts and idiosyncracies.
You could not expect him to toe the line and follow
Too much regulations.
Often I murmured to myself the lines of Thoreau

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions’
Perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer;
Let him step to the music he hears however
Measured or far away. ” (Thoreau)

Hashim never played International Sports and
that has been our greatest tragedy.
The Door of Opportunity was closed
Today the doors are wide open.

“Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear.
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its sweetness on the desert air”

I hope that we one day have a Hashim Rasdien Scholarship
for an outstanding Sportsman — in time we shall see
Hundreds of young Hashiem Rasdiens raising the level of
Fielding to undreamt of heights. `

Hashiem is the choicest Jewel
In the Gallery and Galaxy of Sports.
He belongs to the peerage of Genius.
He belongs to the people of Fietas

His springtime was all promise and great expectations,
His summer was a roaring furnace,
His autumns has been a season of mellow fruitfulness
Let us pray that his winter shall be a time of
Serenity and peace as he is surrounded by his
Wife and children and grandchildren in an exhililirating display of armth and compassion and contentment.

He enjoyed an effortless superiority over lesser mortals
As a teacher he had the same qualities of greatness
And his former pupils come back to him
Again and again to show their gratitude and
Appreciation.

In my World Eleven of great cricketers , Hashiem Rasdien shall always be my 12th Man.
Hashiem Rasdien gave great joy to the people of Fietas
And that joy is his reward.
Khalil Gibran said:
You give but little when you give of your possessions;
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

“His life was gentle and the elements so mix’d
In him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the World “:
This was a Man.

We express our thankfulness to Hashiem Rashdien
For the years of joy he gave us in cricket and soccer .
No words can describe the magic and majesty and
Beauty of his play and performance.

Amongst lesser mortals ,
He was a Prince amongst Players.

Today we proclaim him
A man for all Seasons

Yusuf Garda ygarda@mweb.co.za
28th April 2014.

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