Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 165 February 2024 | Page 22

The news that Stephen Mokoka has joined the Hollywood Athletics Club will , quite appropriately , see one of the all-time greats of SA running – running royalty , if you like – donning the regal colour of purple in his local races in 2024 . – BY BY SEAN FALCONER with MANFRED SEIDLER

Long Live , King Stephen !


Stephen Mokoka is proudly donning purple in 2024

The colour purple is traditionally linked with royalty . This dates back to the ancient Persian , Roman and Byzantine empires , where various kings , emperors and rulers wore purple clothing , signed edicts in purple ink , and their children were described as being “ born in the purple .” The main reason for purple ’ s regal reputation was that it was so rare , and so expensive to produce . In fact , purple dye was literally worth its weight in gold for many years !

In those ancient times , purple dye was produced exclusively in the Phoenician city of Tyre , in modern day Lebanon . This Tyrian purple dye was made from a rare species of sea snail now known as Bolinus Brandaris , and the dye-makers had to crack open the snail ’ s shell , extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time . It took as many as 250,000 snails to yield just one ounce of usable dye , hence the fact that clothes made with this dye were exorbitantly expensive , and why only the richest or most powerful could afford them .
While purple clothing and other products are widely available today , the colour still has a regal connotation , and that seems rather appropriate , given the announcement at the end of January 2024 that one of South Africa ’ s all-time greatest athletes , Stephen Mokoka , has signed to run in the colours of the Hollywood Athletics Club . The new signing for the ‘ Purple Team ’ was officially announced at a
Stephen ’ s PBs
Half Marathon
59:36 *
2:40:13 **
* Current SA Record
** Former World / Africa / SA Record

The Big Announcement

As a media partner of the Hollywood Athletics Club , Modern Athlete livestreamed the press conference to announce Stephen Mokoka signing for the club . You can watch some of the highlights of the announcement here .
In the Green & Gold
Stephen has represented his country on the world or continental stage 36 times , including the following impressive list of global competitions or meets : 3 x Olympic Games 5 x World Track and Field Championships 5 x World Cross Country Championships 7 x World Half Marathon Championships 1 x World Road Running Championships
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