Solly Tyibilika

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Solly Tyibilika
Full name Solomzi Tyibilika
Date of birth (1979-06-23)23 June 1979
Place of birth Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Date of death 13 November 2011(2011-11-13) (aged 32)
Place of death Gugulethu, South Africa
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Weight 198 lb (90 kg)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Flanker
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team    

Natal University / UKZN (Maritzburg)
Hamilton Sea Point RFC
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Apps (points)
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Apps (points)
2003–2006 Sharks (Currie Cup)
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Apps (points)
National team(s)
Years Club / team Apps (points)
2004–2006  South Africa 8 (15)

Solomzi "Solly" Tyibilika (23 June 1979 – 13 November 2011)[1] was a South African rugby union footballer, who played as a flanker for the Lions in the international Super 14 competition in his last years. He was the first black person (not white or mixed race[2]) to score a test try for the South Africa national rugby union team.[3][4][5]


Tyibilika was born in Port Elizabeth[6] and educated at the Loyiso High School.[citation needed] While at high school he started playing rugby union, making his professional debut in 2001 with Griquas.[5]

Tyibilika played for Springbok 'A' in 2004. In November of that year he made his debut for the Springboks in a match against Scotland at Murrayfield playing at flank. South Africa won the match 45–10. He scored on his debut.[5] He played in a subsequent test against Argentina in Buenos Aires, which the Springboks won 39–7.

Tyibilika next played for the Springboks the following season in June, where he played against Uruguay, which the Springboks won 134–3. He then played a subsequent test against the Wallabies in the 2005 Tri Nations Series, which the Springboks won 33–20 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. He earned one other cap that year against Argentina in Buenos Aires in November. He was named in the Springboks' 2006 Tri Nations Series squad.

Tyibilika was part of the Southern Kings squad that played against the British and Irish Lions, in the Lions tour of South Africa in 2009.[citation needed]

In the 2011 season, which would turn out to be his last, he played for Hamiltons in Cape Town.[5]

Tyibilika scored 24 tries for Griquas, Sharks, Lions and Border, appearing 158 times.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Tyibilika was not married and had four children.[5]


Tyibilika was shot dead in a tavern in the township of Gugulethu, near Cape Town, shortly after 2pm on 13 November 2011.[1][7] Witnesses reported Tyibilika had his back turned to the entrance and was on his telephone when two gunmen fired ten rounds in the door. Tyibilika was found to be lying lifeless in his own blood on the floor after the incident.[8]

Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU, said, "Solly was a trailblazer among black African Springboks. To lose him so suddenly and in this brutal manner is very distressing. The casual disregard for life in our society is shocking."[9] Hoskins also said, "His emergence was a demonstration of what can be achieved when talent is combined with opportunity in what is always a very competitive position in Springbok rugby".[5] There were pleas for donations for a burial, with his last club Hamiltons offering to help his family.[10][11] Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula told Parliament two days after the murder that Tyibilika had done his country proud.[12]


  1. ^ a b Imray, Gerald (13 November 2011). "Report: Former Springbok shot dead". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Former Springboks flanker Tyibilika shot dead". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Former Springbok Tyibilika murdered". AFP. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "South African rugby 'trailblazer' murdered". RTÉ News. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Tyibilika mourned by Saru". IOL. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Former Springbok Solly Tyibilika shot dead in Cape Town". The Daily Telegraph. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Ray, Craig (13 November 2011). "Former Bok, Tyibilika shot dead in Cape Town". Times Live. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Tavern guests relate Solly shooting horror". IOL. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Ex-South Africa flanker shot dead in bar". Eurosport. 13 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Pleas for donations to bury Tyibilika". IOL. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Club to help with Bok's funeral". Sport 24. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Tyibilika did his country proud: Mbalula". South African Broadcasting Corporation. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 

External links[edit]