The Naas Botha of today is a well-known rugby commentator on the South African Supersport Channel, but in his day as a player he was one of the most feared match-winners in the game, best known for his deadly boot.
Morne du Plessis was one of South Africa's greatest rugby players and leaders, and in both respects he followed in his father's footsteps. Du Plessis senior led the Springboks to a four-nil whitewash of the much-vaunted All Blacks in 1949, and 37 years later Du Plessis junior led the Boks to a three-one series triumph over New Zealand.
Penny Heyns, who set 14 world records and became the first woman to complete the Olympic double of winning both the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke, is arguably one of the greatest female breaststroke swimmers of all time.
Before Retief Goosen, before Ernie Els and before Gary Player there was another South African golfer who started the tradition of excellence among players of the southernmost country in Africa: Bobby Locke.
It's well known that South Africa has produced some of the all-time greats of golf, cricket and rugby. Less well known is the fact that a man destined for American football's Hall of Fame, the scorer of the most points in the history of the NFL, was born in Parys and raised in Durban, South Africa.
Natal Sharks' eighthman Gary Teichmann played 42 tests for the Springboks, leading the national team on 36 occasions and establishing a reputation as a hard-working, committed, courageous and fair player throughout the rugby world.
Elana Meyer was among the world's elite athletes for over 10 years, establishing world records at 15 kilometres and the half marathon, and boasting five of the 15 best half marathon times in history, a consistency matched by few other athletes.
A left-handed batsman who struck the ball with immaculate timing, making the game look at once simple and stunning, Graeme Pollock was arguably the greatest left-hander in cricket history, with a test average second only to Sir Donald Bradman.
When South African rugby fans named Frik du Preez the country's rugby player of the twentieth century, it was a vote not only for his prodigious performances on the field, but also for his charisma and influence on those around him.
South Africa is blessed with three world-class canoe marathons, each offering the paddler a supreme challenge along with genuine camaraderie in a field that includes not only those trying to win, but also those who come to compete with themselves and the river.