MyNews24: Why Rassie has Ubuntu and Siya does not have black privilege

2019-11-06 09:04
Rassie Erasmus (Getty)

Rassie Erasmus (Getty)

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I have been telling my friends for a while, lightheartedly, that when our sports teams are full of Afrikaners and black people we will win everything. Remember, coloureds are also Afrikaans.

Sport is risky to predict however. I am usually right with the rugby but not always with the cricket, LOL. These groups are intensely South African and when you start balancing resources more fairly, you may get first cousins with a 400m world record and a rugby World Cup gold medal. Rassie Erasmus understands this.

The cousins and Siya don't have "black privilege". They have the same privilege that any white super-athlete has, with a serious dose of responsibility however. We know Siya's dad had never been on a plane. What is the statistical chance of his white team mates parents' having been on a plane or parenting extended family? White privilege does not mean that your life isn't hard, it means your skin colour is not making it harder.

At the airport press conference, Rassie spoke about getting potential rugby players the proper nutrition, that's his job as Director of Rugby, not necessarily to win the next trophy. He does not outsource that role to a third party or the government. He knows that if he can drawer players from 57 million people, rugby is going to be really big in this place.

Rassie reluctantly used the word 'burden'. He spoke of winning a trophy to somehow save South Africans from their woes. To Rassie, coaching rugby is a joy, but he knows we are all looking for hope and wow, the team delivered. Not only in a euphoric way, they have given us more than that.

Eighteen months ago, Rassie chose his leader, like Jake White chose his. As a loose forward it was a brave move, picking any 3 of 10 loose forwards in South Africa would not be difficult to justify, but he picked his leader and backed him. Even at the presser he said that Siya's form had dipped at the beginning of the tournament and he then re-emerged stronger than ever. He also did not choose him because he is black. Choosing the wrong leader and losing in the quarter finals would not have been enough. He chose Siya because he was the right man. This leadership combination has won everything this year!

Corporate South Africa, big and small, where are your Siyas? Yes, they are there. Take Jeppe Boys where the old boys are funding scholars to buy hockey sticks with stunning results, never mind their transformation figures.

Rassie sees this advantage. He says his job in the last 18 months wasn't that difficult. He has been involved in rugby since 1994, first as a player, then in various coaching roles. He knows he is not previously advantaged but currently advantaged because he started at a better place. He knows that no-one wants to take it away from him, but would rather have him share his wisdom and make an impact at a larger scale.

Yes, it is only rugby and the economic indicators have perked up slightly. If we all understood and acknowledged our history, believed we'd find our Siyas, mentored, nurtured and trained them, South Africa would win much more than the World Cup.

It is a deep understanding that if 57 million people are all given a chance – sometimes a fair chance is not at the selection panel but rather a hand up way before – the output can change and the cake can grow. The under development and dehumanisation of our people during apartheid was a crime against humanity. The truth is reversing this is not a win-lose it's a win-win.

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

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