The whole country – or at least, most of the country – is waiting with bated breath for 11:00 on Saturday when Siya’s Springboks will take the field to challenge the might English for world rugby supremacy.
When we unite to sing the national anthem, it will be a rare moment of national unity in a country suffering under poor governance, the remnants of state capture and a history that seems will never let go of us. But for 80 minutes most of us will be rooting for the team crafted by two sons of the Eastern Cape, Johan “Rassie” Erasmus and his captain, Siyamthanda Kolisi.
Rugby is contested terrain and has always been. It’s a political sport as much as a collision sport and its history is fraught with division and healing.
In this week’s Friday Briefing former president Nelson Mandela’s right-hand woman Zelda la Grange pens a heartfelt letter to Madiba, telling him what has happened in his country since his departure in 2013. Mayihlome Tshwete tempers the national exuberance by reminding Kolisi that winning the World Cup won’t change the country. Author Jeremy Daniel, who wrote the recently published biography about Kolisi, writes about the importance of the first black Bok captain and I delve into how rugger and politics have always been intertwined.”
Hie’ kom die Bokke!
Pieter du Toit