1911 – Ikeys Maties history

The origin of the word Matie is in doubt. It was first used in 1911, apparently by the men of the south african College who looked down their noses at their country cousins, who called one another maat or its diminutive matie (chum).

Apparently the word is not a corruption of tamatie (tomato) as description of the maroon of the stellenbosch jersey. In 1918 the men of the stellenbosch song Committee put their heads to- gether and in retaliation came up with the name ikey for UCT, because of the large number of Jews at UCT. It refers to a silly verse, which started: “Ikey Moses, King of the Jews”.

The students’ representative Council (SRC) of UCT did not like the name because of its possible anti-semitism and protested in 1920 and 1921. In fact in 1921 they were due to attend a meeting with the Stellenbosch SRC to discuss the matter and 20 May was set down as a date for the meeting. But they had omitted to notice that there was no train to stellenbosch on a Friday and the meeting never took place.

There were sporadic protest in the early 1930s, but the name stuck. Both nicknames, born of some contempt, have become names of honour.

Explained by: Paul Dobson

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