This was the year that non-racial golf arrived in the Federation, this being the Rhodesias, Southern and Northern, and Nyasaland. Golfers of any race could enter for the national championship which was run by the Central Africa Golf Union. Sadly it remained an all-white event because none of the affiliated clubs had any non-White members. Membership of an affiliated club was a prerequisite for entry in the event.
What was described as the first non-racial match in Rhodesia had taken place a short while before this when a European police side played against an African team in Salisbury (now Harare). The Africans were members of the Gleneagles Club which had a membership of about 70 including three whites. As in all the main centres in South Africa, so too in Rhodesia the game flourished amongst the black community and clubs were formed and courses built no matter how difficult this might have been.
|1965-05||History was made in 1965 at the Bulawayo Golf Club with the inauguration of the Rhodesian professional circuit and the playing of the Flame Lily Tournament sponsored by John Haig & Co to the amount of R4000. Important is that, included in the very competitive field of all South Africa’s leading professional golfers, was Papwa Sewgolum. No mention is made of any other non-white golfers and it is likely that Papwa was the only one. Why this should have been is anybody’s guess. Non-racial golf was a reality in Rhodesia by this time but there were perhaps other political issues, not least the declaration of UDI, that were holding them back. This inaugural tournament was won in a sudden death play-off by Cedric Amm who beat Cobie le Grange at the first extra hole. No detailed scores are recorded.|
|1966-04||The professional circuit in Rhodesia (that is the former Southern Rhodesia following the break-up of the Federation and the declaration of UDI by Ian Smith) in 1966 and subsequent years consisted of three events, the Dunlop Tournament, the Bata Bush Babes Tournament and the Haig Flame Lily Tournament. These were all open non-racial events and Papwa Sewgolum took the opportunity to play in all three, but it seems he was the only non-white golfer to do so. There was a strong representation of South Africa’s best professionals and Papwa was able to compete with the best. In the Dunlop he finished fifth (71 75 71 71 – 288) five shots behind winner Alan Henning, he won the Bush Babes (71 73 72 69 – 285) by three shots from Trevor Wilkes and he finished eighth in the Flame Lily (72 69 75 72 – 288). His closing 69 in the Bush Babes was particularly noteworthy in that he was taking pain-killing tablets for an abscess in his mouth.|
|1967-04||The first event on the Rhodesian pro circuit in 1967 was the Flame Lily with prize money of R3700 sponsored by John Haig & Co. The winner was Brian Barnes from the UK on 281 with Papwa Sewgolum a long way back on 300. Papwa made a strong showing in the second event, the Bata Bush Babes (R2000) Tournament, finishing in a tie for fourth place on 286. This was won by Graham Henning on 282. In the third and final event, the Dunlop Tournament, Papwa again finished in a tie for fourth (72 72 71 72 – 285) but a long way behind back to back winner Graham Henning on 276. Papwa did, however, win the individual prize for the best score (69) in the pro-am which preceded the tournament proper.|
|1968-04||The 1968 Rhodesian circuit followed the same pattern and again Papwa Sewgolum played in all three tournaments. He had somewhat mixed success finishing joint ninth in the Dunlop (74 72 75 73 – 294); his score in the Bata Bush Babes is not recorded; and finally in a tie for third place on 281 in the Flame Lily, now sponsored by Tomango.|
There is nothing on record for the 1969 Rhodesian circuit. It must be assumed that the circuit followed the same pattern as before. Certainly it did so in 1970 with the three main sponsored tournaments making up the programme and all the familiar South African professionals taking part, this time including Peter Oosterhuis from Britain. Papwa made the trip up north and played in all three events but it was not his best showing. In the Dunlop he was 18th on 302, in the Bush Babes 15th on 288 and in the Flame Lily, his best finish, 7th on 287.
There had been a number of professionals from Britain and Ireland on the South African circuit earlier in the year and most of these golfers had decided to skip the Rhodesian tournaments in favour of the more lucrative Zambian circuit. Seven of them were promptly thrown in jail when they arrived in Lusaka because they had been to South Africa. This was in the years of sanctions and boycotts and sporting contact with South Africa was verboten. The matter was eventually cleared up but the seven had to spend a night in jail. Two other players who were actually based in Zambia, one of them Simon Hobday, were served with deportation orders because they had taken part in tournaments south of the Zambesi.
|1971-04||The Dunlop Open Championship in 1971 was won by Denis Hutchinson (277) but there is no mention in the records of any other tournaments being played in Rhodesia or of Papwa Sewgolum’s having taken part. From this date onwards the Rhodesian trail and the participation by non-white golfers in tournaments in that country goes cold.|