I had a big chip on my shoulder. Then I became it.
South African “expats” in Brisbane, Perth or Auckland enthusiastically cheering on my beloved Springboks tempted me to put my boerie roll through the TV at least twice a year. Wearing green and gold nogals, claiming it as home for a day. I did not want to share my Bokkies with right wingers, whingers and the politically emasculated now sitting high and dry in the Antipodes. You have to take the good with the bad, so pick up a Wallaby jumper at passport control china.
So of course the universe and me, but mostly me, conspired to have me in the stands at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. Wearing green and gold, but without return ticket to the beloved country. How the mighty have fallen. Putting the hype in hypocrite. Just pulling the jersey on was an exercise in guilt management. It didn’t feel quite right to use this first world country’s wonderful rail system to get to the game whilst wearing the opposition shirt. I couldn’t dish out any lip to the Wobblies in fear of being asked why I live here. Mate.
.” It must be different because I’m married to one”, or
“We will definitively end up with one foot in either country” flitted through my mind as justification proved elusive.
And why the hell does it matter? The Jewish and Greek and just about every other nation have expat communities all over the world. They emigrate for whatever reason, keep a semblance of culture going and integrate well in their adoptive countries. Why should the white tribe of Africa be any different? Where is the old narcissistic, schizophrenic guilt complex coming from? I have been told on occasion not to over think things.
Anyway, I dearly wanted to pull the green and gold on, the atmosphere was great and even though the Boks were not favourites to win it seemed that something was stirring in the waters of the Brisbane river. So I came up with these personal expat rules I will live by in order to earn my green and gold apparel in Australia.
1) I will belt out every word in every language of our national anthem whether in the pub or the stadium.
2) As long as I’m not living in South Africa the words “tender”, “crime”,”bergie”,” Nkandla”, “Malema” and “E-toll” will not pass my lips. If you are not helping don’t whinge.
3) I will never tell anyone that I don’t lock my doors at night .Besides, Quade Cooper may be listening.
4) I will treat my Australian hosts respectfully, and take every opportunity to gently remind them of the score line on Saturday.
5) I will not comment or give thumbs down on any News24 stories. I will re-join debate the day I land at OR Tambo.( Are you reading this Louis Ferreira?)
6) I will try not to be as self- righteous an asshole as points 1-5 sound.
So the jersey came out of my bag and over my head. I sang, shouted, cursed and cheered. The coach nearly had a stroke and even Kirchner got on the score sheet. Brute force was finally complimented by subtle skills on the park. What a night!
Most inspiring moment? The skipper at the post match interview. Humble, eloquent, measured yet determined.
He made me want to go home…where is that again?
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