Dear naysayers of South Africa's unity

2019-11-14 12:26
The Cape Town leg of the Bok trophy tour. (Ethan van Diemen/News24)

The Cape Town leg of the Bok trophy tour. (Ethan van Diemen/News24)

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I applaud your tenacity to fly in the face of the crowd and blatantly say what you think. It takes courage and a certain type of person to not see the special power that sport has in each and every South African’s heart.

Sport for us, above most nations in the world, has the amazing ability to break down prejudices that one might have towards another. It has the power to break the toxic masculinity that grips our country daily, grown - so called tough - men are brought to tears in the face of a victory. The power of sport in South Africa has the amazing ability to allow the most diverse and wildly different people to stop and suddenly realise the commonalities that exist between each other. It truly has a way to break down the ‘Berlin Walls’ that some people have built in their minds to separate the country by race, class, and or religion/beliefs.

What is truly disheartening is the diatribe that has been spewed out after the victory of the Springboks recently. It truly is saddening to see such hateful speech that has arisen between communities, lambasting the proud for being happy for South Africa as a whole. Some of it is due to the racial make-up of the team, or the gruesome history that WE as South Africans have gone through in the past. And that is understandable. To overcome the South African’s past failures at being hateful human beings is a process. It is a process for each and everyone to come to an understanding of what happened, what changed and how can we as South African’s can change. Believe it or not, I think that was one of our coach Rassie Erasmus’ main goals in motivating the Springboks to world victory.

Watching and listening to the messages and media throughout the Rugby World Cup 2019, allowed one to see a little way into the coach’s mindset. This man cared about talent, hard work and the tenacity to win. This combination not only breeds success on the sports field but in South Africa too. The Springbok team did not represent the demographics of South Africa, but, it did represent the tenacity. The men of colour in our team are amazing, not only in their drive to succeed but also in their drive to change South Africa.

For Erasmus the challenge was always going to be the selection of his team, for years the Springboks have been tasked with a transformation goal. How do you select from the talent that is South Africa and still represent South Africa as a whole? And what Erasmus did was select men that could truly embody the change that South Africa can achieve and has achieved.

We’ve all heard our captain, Siyamthanda Kolisi's, story. The man is a beacon of hope. Recently the story of our amazing try scoring Wing, Makazole Mapimpi, broke the news and how he grew up learning and playing the game of rugby. Soon I’m sure we’ll hear the rest of the World Cup Squads’ origin stories and be amazed by the tenacity that our men embody and the reason they are champions.

From these stories, these men lead the change that South Africa needs, they lead us to another level of unity that we never thought to embrace before.

I hope and truly believe that the way that our men played their hearts out this Rugby World Cup was a spectacular and truly honest way to encourage our youth to dream. In a country with over 20% of our population unemployed, dreaming is a luxury. It’s something someone that goes to bed with a full stomach and surety of the next days’ meal can do. It’s a privilege that many can’t even imagine because their lives are at risk every time they go to school.

The origin stories of our amazing men in the green and gold show that one can still utilise the luxury of dreaming in the adversity of their situation. By doing so, one has the power to see beyond and find ways to ensure their success in the distant futures.

The purpose of the Rugby World Cup win, wasn’t only to break rugby records and carry old bill home. It was also to open South Africa’s eyes and show us the adversity we live in now, the troubles great sportsmen have overcome, and where we as a country can hold each other accountable to rise above the challenges we face.

And to the naysayers of unity, I say, watch out. The leaders of tomorrow are the youth inspired by our team’s success this year. I believe through the efforts that have arisen around the country, the leaders of tomorrow will have no time for nonsense. They will have had endured such adversity and risen above it that diatribe will only add fuel to their fire.

All the best.

Read more on:    springboks  |  rugby world cup 2019  |  rugby

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