The SA Pro Darts Organisation, (ASS. Inc. under Section 21) (SAPDO), a non-profit organisation was established in 2008 to encourage the promotion and the sport of darts on a professional level in South Africa. SAPDO was the brainchild of Mr. Andrew Festers, a wheelchair bound dart lover from Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, South Africa. Andrew served on the executive of one of the most decorated amateur darts body’s in South Africa, namely Mitchells Plain Recreation Association (MPRA). Andrew past away just before SAPDO was registered as a legal company within South Africa but his memory will forever be recorded in our Hall of Fame.
The sport of darts is played on a social level in most of communities throughout South Africa and a dart board can be found in most homes. The indigent communities in South Africa have been exposed to social sports like Rings which was huge during the early Apartheid era due to restrictions and access to sports within South Africa. Darts was introduced to communities and speedily took over the Rings leagues and before anyone realised darts became the social sport of choice for these poorer communities. Rings leagues became something of the past and darts was now the sport of choice as it was easy to access and was relatively cheap to play. In the mean time darts had become a popular sport in other communities around South Africa and was a national sport.
In the early 1990’s darts became a unified sport within South Africa and all players played under one banner thereby creating South Africa’s first darts body, Darts South Africa (DSA). As the sport grew in popularity many players from all walks of life started taking a serious interest and started to produce darts of exceptional quality. These players represented South Africa internationally and over decades became household names for the dart lovers across South Africa.
Then the arrival Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) with the most famous players in the sports breaking away from the amateur bodies (BDO, WDF), due to rewards being limited for top players. Players like Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Dennis Priestly and the most famous of them all Phil “The Power” Taylor broke away from the amateur bodies in 1993-94. In South Africa we were enjoying the sport and were not paying to much attention to the developments in the UK as we were more focused on playing the game and following players like Bristow, Taylor, Lowe, and Priestly. Little did we know 20 years or so down the line it would affect our sport in a similar way it transpired in the UK. Players and administrators started asking questions surrounding the administration and benefits players receive being the top players in South Africa. Like in the UK players were sacrificing hours of practise, time away from their families, representing South Africa on the amateur stage internationally without any feasible rewards like in other sports. Players have to pay fees to belong to amateur clubs, provinces, DSA and then pay to attend the once a year National tournament if you are selected by your district or province.