South African pride erupts over Rugby World Cup win

SA beats England 32-12.
Siya Kolisi celebrates after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan on November 2, 2019. Image: Tadashi Miyamoto

In Sakhumzi bar in Johannesburg’s Soweto township, crowds erupted in cheering and singing on Saturday as South Africa’s rugby team triumphed 32-12 over England to win the World Cup in Japan.

In this bar and in countless venues around the country, it was a time to set aside South Africa’s troubles, noisily revel in a sense of unity and national pride, and salute the team’s black captain.

The crowd at the Sakhumzi outdoor bar on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, made famous by being the home of two of the most celebrated resisters of apartheid – late former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu — reflected the harmonious multiracial society that South Africa still aspires to become.

Black, white and some mixed-race fans donned springbok shirts and shared drinks as their team dominated the England side in the final to bring the cup back home.

For many this was South Africa’s most unifying game of rugby since the 1995 World Cup final win against the All Blacks of New Zealand, when Mandela donned a springbok jersey to unite a nation trying to heal the scars left over from racist white minority rule.

Mandela had become the country’s first black president the year before, after the first democratic elections brought apartheid to an end.

“I’m so proud. It’s our first win with a black captain,” said Sibusiso Radebe, 37, an insurance underwriter, referring to the captain, Siya Kolisi.

“In ’95 the game was still dominated by whites but that has really changed,” he said, as fans chanted “Siya” behind him.

“It means a lot to many South Africans, many Africans. This wasn’t just a win, this win reunited the nation,” said Blaze Zonde, a fan who watched the game on Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg’s financial district.

Back in 1995 South African rugby was only beginning to shake off its image as a sport for the country’s more privileged white minority, and the only black player on the pitch was star winger Chester Williams, who died in September of a heart attack.

Even for long after that South African rugby continued to be dogged by allegations of racism and excluding promising black players.

An inspirational captain

This time, six non-white players were included in the starting line-up facing England, including Kolisi.

His rise from the poverty of a township in the Eastern Cape province to bring home the cup as captain is a rags-to-riches story many South Africans would love to repeat, as they still grapple with inequalities.

In a stadium in the Zwide township in Port Elizabeth where Kolisi grew up, fans draped in the South African flag broke out into wild celebrations as Kolisi’s teammate Makazole Mapimpi raced over the line to score a try in the second half.

People held banners with Kolisi’s photograph aloft and jumped up and down with joy as music blared in the background.

Nobuzwe Msengana, 37, travelled from Cape Town to watch the match in Soweto.

“This will inspire the youth. Rugby is still seen as a white man’s sport. You go to the townships: they only play soccer. People don’t play rugby. This will encourage them,” she said.

In a subtle sign of how much work South Africa still has to do to heal its racial divide, when President Cyril Ramaphosa flew to Japan wearing his green springbok jersey, the government wrote on Twitter that this was in his role of “promoting the unity of the nation”.

The presidency posted pictures and videos on Twitter of Ramaphosa holding the trophy with Kolisi and praising the team using their Afrikaans name, Bokke.

Tutu’s foundation said in a statement that the team’s victory had “restored a self-doubting nation’s belief”.

Patrick Devine, 53-year-old white South African, brought his 13-year-old son Conor to watch the match in Soweto, wanting him to experience this part of Johannesburg.

“This is just phenomenal,” he said, breaking into tears. “South Africa is in a hard place right now. If we’d lost I would have been broken-hearted.”

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I remember telling my colleagues SA has a real chance of winning RWC in 2019 after we won the rugby championship, they all laughed and said I was crazy, and yet, here we sit.

Bokke lifted their game and came to the party with an impenetrable defence and an incredible performance. Poms with best team in decades = chokers.

The caught the virus from our cricket team 😛

Any praise from Malema and his ilk?

He’s preparing for his next jab at the DA.

(And getting his money out of the country so that when the VBS case comes knocking, he can at least keep it)

Unfortunately, the ANC is already turning this into a race-based political show.

As if they somehow created this win for the Springboks.

Reminds me of Gladiator where Commodus shows up to congratulate the men and claim the glory when he was nowhere to be seen in the battle that Maximus led.

Well-done Siya

We are in a hard place because of ZUMA led ANC, corruption, Cadre deployment, poor education policy etc.

While there is Racism amongst a minority, it is used as an excuse by Ace, Malema and their band of crooks to stop us moving forward.

Cyril, Siya has shown we have great leaders in our country like you. Please carry on doing the great job you are doing.
We know it is a fine line you have to tread. Carry on.

It’s quite right that rugby is an appropriate metaphor for the country. Took us two failed coaches before we appointed a someone on merit.

How many whites are there is high government positions? None I think. Must be because no whites are up to the job.

Rassie is a great Coach, less than 2 years from rank 6 to world champions whilst pushing transformation through.

This is the type of thinking that SA needs not the hate of politicians and their lies.

The whole team and the nation deserve credit for believing in the players and in each other. That is the frequency we all need to be on.

Beautiful work from Rassie, Siya, entire team and support staff. The play was back to what we saw earlier in the year against NZ, Aus and Argentina – Rassie had them all fooled throughout the World Cup.

Now – if only Rassie had a twin with cricket in his blood. This is a lesson for Cricket SA. Are they smart enough to learn????

The Coach needs to have been there , done it and be world class .
Frankly never ever heard of this new Cricket guy !! Perhaps he is deployed !! just saying .

gesprek tussen 007 en die queen:

007: “eddie jones, ma’am?”

queen: “yes, and make it look like a suicide”

The Cup is great for self esteem amongst all of us – however, the “unity” thing is being over played.

To my mind the people get along well – it is the politicians that stir up the hatred, to draw the attention away from their disasters.

End of comments.

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