January 01, 2024

How Orlando Pirates Started

Every great football club has a humble beginning, and Orlando Pirates’ starting point is indeed humble: a group of school boys from the township of Soweto in Gauteng, South Africa got together to enjoy the sport they all loved.

The teenagers formed the amateur soccer team at the Orlando Boys Club in 1934, but the club only took formative shape three years later; local boxing instructor, Andries “Pele Pele” Mkhwanazi, saw that the boys had skills, so he encouraged them to make the team official and participate in local competitions.

Although the youngsters were competing barefoot and with no kit, they still managed to play in the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association. In 1939, the amateur footballers decided to strike out on their own and leave Orlando Boys Club to make the house of Mkhwanazi their official home.

As a fan of Errol Flynn’s films – especially the 1940 film “The Sea Hawk”, which was popular in the country at the time – Mkhwanazi dubbed the boys “AmaPirates”, and so they gained their name.

However, it was Bethuel Mokgosinyana, a somewhat well-off factory foreman, who donated the black jerseys and white shorts of his former team, Pure Fire, to the Pirates, thus giving them their trademark black-and-white kit. Mokgosinyana went on to become the club’s first president.

Image Credit: Source