So it seems that our beloved Springbok logo is under threat yet again.
ANC member of parliament Strike Ralegoma insists that the emblem must go. He states that “for successful transformation, all national teams must play with a single emblem”.
He desperately wants the Protea to replace the history-rich Bok mark. This comes hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that Allister Coetzee will be the new Springbok coach, where one of his mandates is to ensure increased numbers of non-white players in the national team.
Dear Mr Ralegoma, please ‘strike’ this off your wish-list and speak for yourself as I can assure you that the majority of us want the logo to indeed stay on and continue its proud tradition of being one of the most recognisable, famous and well-respected brands in the world. If the late great Nelson Mandela embraced it and even wore it proudly on his heart in 1995 then who on earth are you and some big-wigs to get rid of it? You will not and cannot out-weigh the majority on this one.
Despite the narrow-minded individuals who view it as the symbol of Apartheid only, the emblem is an extremely positive and powerful metaphor in our country and dates all the way back to 1906. It was even used by the South African Armed Forces during World War II. It is our official national animal for goodness sake. Why destroy our heritage? Imagine the monetary implications. Decline in revenues are guaranteed as nobody will bother buying any national rugby related jerseys or paraphernalia any longer.
I would like to humbly ask you and the ANC why are rugby and cricket constantly picked on more than any other sporting code? If it is all about equal race representation then why are Bafana Bafana also not hauled over the coals? I will not be surprised if individual sports are soon interfered with as well. Will you ban Chad Le Clos from the Olympic Games and replace him with someone of colour to ‘transform’ the swimming team? As ridiculous as it sounds, I will not rule something so farcical out when the ANC is involved. Do you not realize that black and coloured teams from the 1930s onwards also used this emblem proudly?
How about you transform the ruling party by getting rid of Jacob Zuma first before something so trivial and unnecessary such as this? I implore you and your mates to rather focus on more important issues such as crime, education, health and so forth. Are you that bored that you have to plough all your attention into sport when clearly sport and politics do not mix! I see a bad case of double standards here in that you want as many non-whites involved in the future team but then want the very essence and symbol of the same team removed. Either you view it as a hangover from Apartheid and oppose it in its entirety or you support rugby and the Springboks whole-heartedly – you cannot have it both ways!
Imagine the great All Blacks name and fern being removed in light of the Maori grievances of the past? Yes it is not the same as Apartheid but that would simply signal the end of New Zealand rugby and I foresee this happening with South Africa. If this does come to pass, I, along with millions of others, will completely and sadly turn our backs on our favourite sports team. What next, the green and gold to be changed? Where do we draw the line?
The Boks have made the country proud more than any other federation or local body (including 2 world championships) and still get treated so unfairly. Even though we do chastise Saru as fans, my sympathy does lie with them as they are placed under undue pressure by government. I once again beg the politicians to kindly stay away from all things sport. Majority of citizens of all colours and creeds are proud of and love the Bok emblem. Please leave the Springbok logo alone!!!
Dhirshan Gobind is a 30-something freelance sports columnist/writer and a UKZN alumnus with a degree in Marketing Management. He also has a tri-weekly column in ‘The Post’.
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