Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bokke and unity in South Africa

The Bokke are the World Champions and we are (again) basking in this phenomenal victory, having ectastic visions and dreams of the dawn of Utopia. We had a jol on Saturday night, in Riverlea, spilling over in the week. As an avid rugby fan since, the early 70s enjoying the running brutal battles with the conquering Lions of Willy-John McBride, the French, All Blacks, with Billy Bush, Syd Going, etc, our coloured communities followed the game (on the radio with Gerhard Viviers), but in the heyday of apartheid, being forced to build our own heroes and proud heritage. I have to come clean om the fact that I followed SARU (the coloured/ non-racial league) , KWARU ( the black/non-racial league) as well as 'Federasie'. The Federasie played with the 'Boere', they formed a national coloured team the 'Proteas'- a Wednesday side who would give stiff competition to the dirt-trackers of the touring sides. Why do I say that I have to come clean, is the fact that rugby was divided along political lines. The National Party government started the whole mess, by legislating, the fact that no coloured or black person were allowed to wear the green and gold-we had to play in aparte teams. The SARU and KWARU fraternity then decided to keep these lines and in line with the SACOS policy of the day to say that there can be 'No normal sport in an Abnormal society'. The Federasie however said, No, we'll take what falls from the tables of the white man and play the game. All these configurations were determined by the politics of the day. Many of us, playing in SACOS, supported the foreign teams coming to SA- I however struggled with this. To make a long story short, it comes a bit as a surprise when we forget the history and pretend as if there was nothing between 1948 and 1994 and the politicians must stay out of rugby because sport and politics don't mix. It is not simply naive, it borders on dishonesty. To say that sport brings people together, ignores that fact that sport, in many ways mirrors the contradictions in society. So lets be cautious with our euphoria and realize that many things has changed over the years in sport ( rugby) and in future many things will change. One thing, for sure, is that the legacy and heritage of the heroes on the dirtfields, behind the 'sinkplate' (zinkplates) and in the darkside of yesteryear, deserves affirmation, otherwise, somewhere along the line, we might find to our horror that our celebrations was closer to be chemically induced, rather than a dose of reality
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