Guest Column

Editorial: Kolisi captaincy a step towards normality

2018-06-03 11:09

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In a diverse country such as ours, which attained democracy 24 years ago, racism or racial undertones should not form part of our discourse.

But we are not a normal society and we are still far from achieving the truly cohesive society that we can all proudly call home.

Take the appointment of Siya Kolisi as captain of the Springboks for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against England this week. In 1992 Kolisi was a year old when the Springboks were readmitted into international rugby after they had been banned as the world protested against apartheid South Africa. This was when the white minority dominated and oppressed the majority.

Kolisi grew up in a very different South Africa from the one in which his parents and grandparents spent most of their lives. His was a South Africa where everyone had equal rights and a society that was striving to provide equal opportunities to all.

The fuss around Kolisi’s appointment to lead the Springboks – a worthy and deserved achievement – brought to the fore that we are a racially divided nation, and we see things in black and white. That Kolisi’s appointment as national captain is celebrated for the fact that he is the first black person to hold the job rather than the fact that he is the finest person for the job should be cause for concern. This is a country, after all, that does not blink when a Neil Tovey or a Dean Furman captains Bafana Bafana.

South Africa is still that divided country that is trying to catch up with normality. We are a country that is still far from a society which, to borrow from Martin Luther King, judges individuals by their strength of character rather than the colour of their skin. As we applaud Kolisi, let us hope that his ascendancy is just another step towards normality.

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