Molefi Nathanael Oliphant was born on 6 March 1952 in Kroonstad, Free State.
He started his career as a teacher in 1975 at Lekoa Shandu High School in Sharpeville, rising to the rank of principal in 1983 at Lebohang High School in Boipatong. He was promoted to Inspector of Schools in 1993. In 1995 he was promoted to the post of District Director of Education in the Sedibeng West District of the Gauteng Department of Education.
Molefi Oliphant’s work in football administration began at grassroots level when he held leadership positions in the Vaal Region. He went on to become the Treasurer of the then Soccer Association of South Africa (one of the four soccer governing units that later formed the South African Football Association (SAFA), a position he held until 1991.
After serving as a Vice President of SAFA for a period of four years, he became the President of SAFA. He served for three terms, and then decided not to stand for re-election. In recognition of his monumental contribution to the development of football in the country, SAFA conferred him with the title of Honorary Life President.
Oliphant is currently the second Vice-President and Executive Member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). He has held various positions in local and international football structures, including the National Olympic Committee of South Africa, Council for Southern African Football Association, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and CAF match commissioner, FIFA Appeal Board member, member of the World Cup Organising Committee South Africa and Deputy Head of Delegation for both the Germany and South Africa FIFA World Cups.
Olifant’s leadership qualities have not gone unrewarded, as attested to by a host of honours and awards bestowed on him, including the Special State Award by former President Nelson Mandela in recognition of service to South African football; the International Olympic Committee Award; and for his remarkable contribution as a volunteer towards the development of sport and Olympism, the Super Sport Recognition Award; an award recognising his continuous service to SAFA for ten years, the Order of the DISA Officer: Province of Western Cape; the CAF 50 Years Golden Jubilee Award; the SAFA Presidential Award and a FIFA Merit Award, both in 2010.
Oliphant’s educational qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (University of South Africa), 1982; a Bachelor of Education (University of the Witwatersrand), 1988; Masters of Education in Education Management (North West University), 2007; and an Honorary Doctorate (D.Tech) in Sports Management (Vaal University of Technology), 2006.
On 27 April 2011, the State President, Jacob G Zuma, conferred Molefi Nathaniel Oliphant with the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold for his excellent contribution to the development of soccer and his participation in ensuring that South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup and in hosting a successful Soccer World Cup tournament in 2010.