Former journalist Ted Doman, who worked for several newspaper titles in Cape Town, passed away last week, aged 88.
Initially, Doman was used in a pioneering role as newspapers, both English and Afrikaans, started sports coverage in disadvantaged areas. Doman would cover events himself or find freelancers to do so. In addition, he was armed with a camera, and he did a fine job as a sports photographer.
I recall the best athletics action shots of myself, and the late Kenny Roman were taken by Doman.
Many sportsmen of my era were able to buy action pictures from him. He had a darkroom set up at his home in Wetton. He had a darkroom assistant there in full-time attendance.
He was also at the forefront of media coverage for the Mardi Grass (William Herbert Sportsground) and City Fair (City Park), the major fund-raising projects for sports unions for many years.
He was very important in terms of providing coverage for sport in the disadvantaged areas in the late 1960s, early 1970s when black sport very seldom made it into the mainstream media.
He opened the way for others to have positions in mainstream media.
A former Cape Argus employee Archie Dyasi knew the soccer set-up in townships like Langa, Nyanga and Gugulethu. When Doman told him about the drive to publish soccer reports and results from these areas, he helped Doman to cover these areas.
He remembers the time when Doman arranged to meet him in Athlone, and then they would travel by scooter to the townships.
He gave schools athletics much-needed media coverage, but the powerful Western Province Senior Schools Sports Union (WPSSSU) headed by the late Richard Rive and company, did not always welcome him with open arms.
As a Bridgetown High teacher, I served on the WPSSSA for many years, and I was baffled by efforts to deny journalists like Doman access to results and media opportunities.
Doman covered a wide range of sports and often covered a few venues on Saturday afternoons. He also made provision for coverage of a lesser-known code like darts which had a big following on the Cape Flats.
After a few years as a sports reporter, the Argus company appointed him in a full-time capacity at the Cape Herald, and in later years, he was appointed as the editor there.
Journalist Dougie Oakes also paid tribute to Doman, who was the editor of Cape Herald when he joined the Cape Town weekly.
Oakes said Doman was the major influence on his life as a journalist.
“He opened many doors for me at a newspaper that punched far above its weight, and in an era when black journalists were not taken seriously by the mainstream whites-only media,” said Oakes.
“He knew the difficulties his staffers would have to go through because, well, he had been forced to take that journey in journalism himself.
“By the 1960s, he was already driving from sports field to sports field, camera and notebook in hand, covering codes that no one took seriously, simply because those playing rugby, cricket and football, among others, that he covered were not the right colour.
“Aware that I was a staunch supporter of the SA Council on Sport, Doman encouraged me every step of the way as I turned the Herald’s sports pages into Sacos pages.
“Together, we stood back for no one. Doman had my back when white tradesmen in the Argus Company’s works department, complained bitterly about the ‘political tone’ of our sports coverage.”
When the Cape Herald closed in 1986, Doman worked for the City of Cape Town as a public relations officer. Later on, he started a tourism business.
l Herman Gibbs is a sports journalist and former record-breaking athlete.