Durban North’s Michael Marnewick, who’s worked in the Sharks’ media back room for close to 10 years, launches his first book – featuring a number of top SA sports personalities – on Thursday, November 11 at Books & Books, shop 42 Kensington Square, Durban North.
Titled Quest for Glory, Marnewick’s debut effort examines sporting success through the eyes of top South African sports personalities, including Gary Player, Bruce Fordyce, Penny Heyns, Ryk Neethling, Gary Teichmann, John Smit, Shaun Pollock, Oscar Pistorius and football coach Clive Barker.
Barker will be the guest speaker at the launch event which kicks off at 6pm for 6.30pm.
“A good friend of mine summed it up well recently when he said to me, ‘You know, you have my dream job’, said Michael, whose primary day job is to run the Natal Sharks website, Sharks Rugby (www.sharksrugby.co.za). Michael has also served as media liaison officer, for example on the 2008/9 tour down under, and his company runs a number of smaller websites for clients.
“Natal people live and breathe rugby and I’m very privileged to work with and know the great rugby players and personalities we have here at the Sharks,” he said. “What’s really interesting for me is that sometimes the going is tough, the public doesn’t see all the trials and tribulations, and all the small victories that make up the great success story that is the Sharks. It’s a fascinating environment and a huge amount of work behind the scenes goes into making the Sharks what it is today.”
Michael’s experiences with this top rugby brand have led him to write more than 5 500 articles (he also occasionally contributes to newspapers) and he’s been itching to put together a book for years.
Quest for Glory is broadly a sports book, it’s not just about the Sharks. The writer converses with top names in SA sport to discuss the importance of sport in young lives, how we live vicariously through the actions and conquests of our heroes and can learn from their achievements. “We are a nation of sports fanatics and the book will address the issues surrounding success and failure on fields, swimming pools and golf courses around the world,” he says.
There are too many big names to mention here, but some of those who gave their time to help this book see the light of day are Mark Andrews (Rugby World Cup winner’s medal – 1995); Penny Heyns (Olympic swimming champion); John Smit, Gary Teichmann, Naas Botha, Francois Pienaar, Bob Skinstad (Springbok captains); Herschelle Gibbs (Proteas’ batsman), Henning Gericke (Springbok sports psychologist – 2007 Rugby World Cup); Paul Treu (SA Sevens’ coach – world champions 2008/2009); Oscar Pistorius (paralympic world champion); Clive Barker (Bafana Bafana coach – African Cup of Nations champions); Gary Player (golfing legend), Ryk Neethling (swimming champion) and Professor Tim Noakes.
Noakes when approached to contribute to the book wrote: “I would be happy to help in any way possible. These books are terribly important for the future of SA sport.”
And there’s a foreword by local hero and rugby warrior, the most capped Bok captain of all time John Smit: What more could you ask for?
Michael was born and bred in Durban and went to school at Glenwood High. He completed a degree in Psychology before trying his hand at pig farming, washing dishes in London before returning to SA for a stint of farming. When Canon withdrew from its sponsorship of the Sharks in 1999, Michael saw an opportunity to get involved in starting a new website for the brand. He was eventually brought on on a full time basis and today is an important part of the Sharks setup.
“I’m living the dream . . . and part of the dream was to publish my own book,” he says. “I spoke to former sports editor of The Witness John Bishop and he suggested I contact Random House/Struik. I’ve worked really hard and am chuffed that it’s finally all coming together.”
A sports fanatic at school, “but I wasn’t really any good”, Michael is married to Candiese, and they have two children, Julia (5) and Mia (1).
**Published by Random House/Struik, “Quest for Glory” will be available at all good book stores. Get to Books & Books for a signed copy on Thursday 11.