Former South African rugby player and beloved commentator Kaunda Ntunja has died, his sister, Tando, confirmed on social media on Monday.
“It is with deep sadness I confirm the passing of our beloved brother Kaunda Ntunja, earlier today in East London, Eastern Cape,” Tando Ntunja wrote.
“As you can imagine, we still trying to make sense of this tragic news and we ask for your love, care and discretion as we prepare to lay my big brother to rest.”
Ntunja was 38.
SA Rugby said in a statement on Monday they were “deeply, deeply saddened at the loss of one of our most-beloved rugby sons, Kaunda Ntunja”.
“Kaunda left an indelible mark on the local rugby landscape and we will miss seeing his broad smile and hearing his voice at our rugby matches in future – this is a tragic loss, he left us too soon,” said Mark Alexander, SA Rugby president.
“Our thoughts are with the Ntunja family and all of his friends and colleagues for this terrible loss – the South African rugby community is much poorer without Kaunda Ntunja.”
Ntunja was born in East London and attended Dale College. He played for Border in the Craven Week in 2000. and was appointed captain of the SA Schools the in the same year. He also captained the SA U19 side in 2001.
After playing junior rugby for the Sharks, Ntunja represented the Cheetahs, Southern Kings and Lions at senior level, before hanging up his boots in 2008.
Ntunja became a Xhosa rugby commentator for SuperSport during the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
Since then he has become one of South Africa’s most loved broadcasters, with his monologues and energy behind the microphone resonating with fans over the world.