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In The Line of Fire: South African Sportspeople

27 September 2012, 12:45

Mark Fish (soccer)-robbery

Eudy Simelane (soccer)-murdered

Vleis Visagie (rugby)-shot daughter after mistaking her for an intruder

Ryk Neethling (swimming)-robbery

Cameron van der Burgh (swimming)-robbery

Pat Symcox (cricket)-robbery

Ettiene Roets (cricket)-murdered

Andrew Hall (cricket)-shot during robbery

Louis Vorster (cricket)-murdered

Solly Tybillika (rugby)-murdered

Gerrie Germishuys (rugby)-shot during robbery

Jan Ellis (rugby)-shot during robbery

Richard Smith (boxing)-murdered

Mzukisi Sikali (boxing)-murdered

Chris Whiteboy (boxing)-murdered

Cassius Baloyi (boxing)-shot during robbery

Mpisekhaya Mbaduli (boxing)-murdered

Luvuyo Kazaka (boxing)-murdered

Khenja Tshabalala (boxing)-murdered

Corrie Sanders (boxing)-murdered

Karen Harmse (athletics)-shot during robbery

So that’s the tip of the iceberg. You, the South African public, represent the rest of the monolith. Your tragedies mostly go unnoticed, and many just have to keep going on despite having lost loved ones, or having been injured or maimed. I know that there are people out there who are decent and courageous, and try to make a difference in small ways. Their often random acts of kindness remain mostly undocumented. I experienced individual acts of generosity on visits to the Republic, and remember them because they were so rare. I’d like to mention those as real ambassadors for their country, not the imposters who cling to a delusion of mindless patriotism while they wave flags and spew hate.

The ambassadors did not belong to any particular group, nor did they actually achieve miracles. In many cases, they were simply doing their jobs with grace, dignity and compassion. This is the South Africa I would like to show the world! Alas, I am all too aware of how callous, indifferent and downright cruel so many folks are, especially to those less fortunate. This form of stupidity and low intelligence absolutely transcends the colour line, and was equally true under NP rule as it is under an ANC regime. Society must fundamentally change. It will not.

Today I would like to salute everyone who tried to do something good for their fellow human beings in South Africa, no matter how small. It might seem like the first part of this piece is unconnected to the second. Think about it though. No matter how big or small each of our lives are, we matter. And we matter especially when someone else shows us that humanity. If I may, can I also dedicate this to the innocent and the vulnerable in society, who suffer greatly from an injustice that they did not deserve. African Sky Blue, your children wait for the Dawn. All of them, white, brown and black.

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