Sikheto Denge

Sikheto with an Ignoblis KingfishSikheto was a great character and was well known amoungst the locals at Umdloti.

l knew Sikheto well having dived with him for many years. He was a great snuff taker which he kept in a small white container that was always at the ready once he had dived. It was strong stuff which Sikheto maintained kept his sinuses in good shape.He was a great story teller and always began thus. “One day-----”.

Sikheto was not a good swimmer and even swimming with flippers, he had an ungainly action. Yet he was an excellent gamefish diver who regularly beached with good bags of snoek, garrick and cuda. I remember asking him what made him take up spearfishing. His reply was that he was fishing off the rocks when he saw a spearo beach with a good bag. He reasoned that he had to wait for whatever took his hook while the spearfisherman could pick what he wanted. So he started spearfishing.Click the document to enlarge ina new window

In the early seventies the Umdloti town board banned Sikheto from the beaches because he was black. Rob Morely and fellow divers used to piggie back Sikheto over the beach to the sea and then the same procedure back once the dive was over. The town board responded by banning spearfishing in the area under its jurisdiction in 1975. A sad but true story as the letter below confirms. Sikheto had a great sense of humour and never let these episodes of petty officialdom cloud his view of people in general.

Sikheto was getting on in years when he suffered a fatal heart attack whilst swimming back through the surf north of the umdloti chain pool. His body was recovered some days later. Sikheto will always be remembered fondly by those who knew him.