Full name: Johannes Augustus Botha
Born: Cape Town, 19 November 1879
Deceased: On his farm Vogelstruisfontein in the Standerton District on 8 December 1920. He is one of two Springboks killed by lightning.
Clubs: Hamiltons, Diggers
International career: 1903: 1 test
The story goes that Fairy Heatlie and two friends who were helping him to select the team for the decisive third test in 1903, Biddy Anderson and Percy Twentyman Jones, were having tea in the Café Royal in Cape Town when John Botha walked in. They said that he was the sort of big man needed for the forwards to play against the British. They asked him if he played rugby and on receiving an affirmative reply, they then chose him.
His father was the last of three generations of gunsmiths and dealers in Cape Town. The Bothas were the first private gunsmiths at the Cape. Eventually, in 1901, the British bought their stock and dumped it out at sea, lest it fall into Boer hands. Rawbone’s then took over the business which they eventually sold to Armscor in the 1960s.
John Botha was the youngest of eight children. His brother, Albertus Stegmann Botha, was a keen rugby player at Heidelberg in the Transvaal. His sister, Johanna Catharina Elizabeth Botha, married Loftus Versfeld. John Botha often accompanied them to matches. The family tradition is that a knee injury prevented his touring with the Springboks in 1906. He was a clarinettist in the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.