The Game Of Kings
Its origins lie somewhere in Persia or China.
Known as the game of kings one is sure to feel like one at the Shongweni polo events. Polo began more than 2,000 years ago in Persia, where members of the king’s cavalry played it as a training game. The British then of course adopted the sport, popularised it along with most of the rules that are used in the game today.
It is becoming one of the fastest growing sports with a large number of black elite taking their weekends off to enjoy a match of polo instead of sitting in front of a TV set and watching soccer. Many of these black spectators come from a middle class background. Charmaine Mldetshe one of the onlookers who sported a yellow tea dress, Jimmy Choo heels and elaborate headpiece (Specially designed just for her by a well known Durban designer*) slowly sipped on a cold colorful concoction. She went on and on about how the fabulous life was part and parcel of the polo experience ,”I come here every year , It gets better and better each time” she said .The polo has become more like a fashion event somewhat like the Durban Vodacom July, events of this nature are about the who’s who and the extravaganza all together.
Picnic baskets filled with goodies on the lush green manicured grounds. Young and old out and about, taking it all in, enjoying this event that has been held at the eShongweni dam for many years now. The showcase draws in crowds from far and wide; with some people coming from as far afield is Cape Town just for the day. It’s a nice place to be with your family, friends and even your canine-friend like it was done in the 40s where families would have a host for the lunches that would be served after the participants embarked on their polo journey. it was (and to a large extent still is) a game based on the ideal of shared communal experiences.
Class is the order of the day. Having watched many reality shows like The Real Housewives of Texas and seen the high life, this was the event to rival all events that and was a mixture of fine women and skilled men on horses. The atmosphere can’t help but make one feel opulent. Away from the side stories it is true that many still see the polo as a game for ‘sissies’.
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Written by Francisca Mtshali