Anti-apartheid trailblazer, who made his home in Twickenham, dies aged 84

Anti-apartheid trailblazer dies, aged 84

Champion: Of weightlifting and race relations

Fighting the good fight: Chris de Broglio

First published in News Richmond and Twickenham Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Richmond and Twickenham

A weightlifting champion and anti-apartheid campaigner, who lived in Twickenham, has died aged 84.

Chris de Broglio lived in Cole Park Road between 1966 and 1985, during which time he contributed to South Africa's expulsion from the Olympic Games.

Together with colleague and friend Dennis Brutus, he founded the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (Sanroc), a key factor in the demise of apartheid.

He was born in Mauritius in May 1930 before migrating to South Africa to study accountancy in Durban.

Between 1950 and 1962, he competed in weightlifting championships and became South African champion.

During that time he came into contact with the growing apartheid movement in the country and became involved in non-racial weightlifting events, leading the whites-only federation to threaten him with expulsion.

While working for international airline UTA, he arranged for Sanroc chairman John Harris to slip security police and lobby an International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting.

The campaign was a success and South Africa was excluded from the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo while the nation was also banned from world football.

Growing harassment from security police led to de Broglio's exile to London - Twickenham, specifically.

A Sanroc-in-exile committee was set up and continued their good work by ensuring South Africa was, once again, unable to enter the Olympics in 1968.

His family home, in Cole Park Road, was used to distribute over 100 tickets for demonstrators to invade the pitch during a Springboks match at Twickenham stadium in December 1969.

Threats to disrupt a 1970 cricket tour, together with Sanroc organising a boycott by African, Asian and Caribbean countries of the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, caused the tour's cancellation.

South Africa was ultimately expelled from global sport in 1970, highlighted by the late Nelson Mandela as being a pivotal moment in bringing down apartheid.

Mr de Broglio was awarded the Olympic Order in 1997 in recognition of his work against racism in sport. He moved back to Mauritius and later Corsica.

He died on July 12.

Daughter Chantal de Broglio said she would never forget her father's compassion and generosity.

She said: "His kindness a generosity was beyond reproach, he was always there for people who needed help or who needed to come to England.

"As well as his passion for the cause that he believed in, he was also a brilliant chef.

"He would cook dishes of all nationalities - for example, if he went to a Russian restaurant, he would come back and practise it at home."

De Broglio married June von Solms in 1954 and she died of cancer in 1982.

He married second wife Renee Duval in 1988 and is survived by six children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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