Bloemfontein welcomes back its golden boy

By Linda Fekisi , Frikkie Kapp

Bloemfontein has welcomed home track sensation Wayde van Niekerk, who obliterated superstar Michael Johnson’s long standing 400m record at last month’s Rio Olympics. Van Niekerk was hosted by the office of the Premier and by his alma mater, the University of the Free State. He also visited Grey College, where he had schooled. Every venue was packed with hundreds of friends, fans and members of the community beaming with pride. Frikkie Kapp and Linda Fekisi share these moments in a photo story.

The welcoming organised by the Premier’s office included a tour around the city on 9 September. Van Niekerk travelled through the city of roses in an open bus. Frikkie Kapp, captured moments from two locations: Hoffman Square and Grey College.

Meeting fans and signing autographs at Hoffman Square

Wayde van Niekerk greeting fans during a parade held at Grey College and Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein on September 9, 2016 ©Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Wayde van Niekerk with MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mmathabo Leeto

Wayde’s Hero’s Welcome parade held at Grey College and Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein on September 9, 2016 ©Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Harley Davidson bike riders accompanying Wayde van Niekerk on a tour through Bloemfontein

Visiting Grey: his roots

Grey College boys waiting for Wayde van Niekerk at Grey College

Eunice school cheerleaders receiving Wayde at Grey College

Buses arriving at Grey College

Wayde van Niekerk and Headmaster of Grey College, Deon Scheepers at Grey College during the Wayde’s Hero’s Welcome parade held at Grey College and Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein on September 9, 2016 ©Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Wayde van Niekerk and Ans Botha during the Wayde’s Hero’s Welcome parade held at Grey College and Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein on September 9, 2016 ©Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Wayde van Niekerk, his trainer Ans Botha and his mother Odessa Swartz, during the Wayde’s Hero’s Welcome parade held at Grey College and Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein on September 9, 2016 ©Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Athletics – 2016 Rio Olympics – Wayde van Niekerk Hero’s Welcome – Bloemfontein

The Wayde fever continued in Bloemfontein right up until Thursday, 15 September, when he was received by his alma mater, the University of the Free State.

Expressing gratitude to the Kovsie community

Students and members of the UFS community relived his record breaking historic moment with the athlete last week on the Bloemfontein campus by watching a video of his race. As his race drew to an end, the Callie Human rumbled with cheers while he walked to the podium. Van Niekerk expressed his gratitude for the support he received. “I would love to thank Kovsies as a whole. I really cherish this place. The love and the warmth that come with it have contributed to the journey,” he said. “You have helped me along and I thank you for that.”

Images courtesy of Frikkie Kapp.
Follow him on Instagram or check out his Flickr account

More stories in Issue 75

Contributors

Linda Fekisi

Linda Fekisi holds a MA degree in Communication Science. She is the former Kau Kauru student editor and she is currently based at the UFS where she lectures journalism and communication. Her research interests are media studies, journalism, social media and contemporary history.

Frikkie Kapp

Frikkie Kapp has been a photographer for the past 14 years. He lectures photography, often holding short courses and workshops. He specialises in sports photography and is based in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and get notified of new issues.