Rugby World Cup unites South Africans

One thing I love about sports is the role it often plays in bringing people of different races and culturesRugby
together. Sure, there has been plenty of discrimination in sports historically, but the overall impact of sports has been positive. Just look at what’s happening in South Africa, where everyone’s celebrating the Springboks’ 15-6 victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final on Sunday.

Smiles and congratulatory handshakes were the order of the day as office
workers, shop assistants and street peddlers returned to their jobs after the
Springboks triumphed in Paris.

Newspapers, ranging from the predominantly white-backed Citizen to the
largely black-read Sowetan, heralded the unity engulfing the nation as it
prepared to welcome the team home.

A huge crowd was expected to greet the players when they arrive at
Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport this afternoon, kicking off
several days of festivities, including a nationwide ticker tape parade. [Link]

White, black and brown — they’re all celebrating the victory. The blacks would rather win the soccer World Cup and the browns would rather win the cricket World Cup, but as the old African saying goes, "A World Cup in the hand beats two in the bush."

Although rugby is traditionally dominated by the country’s white minority,
particularly its Afrikaner community – descendants of the original Dutch and
French settlers – the black majority has also been swept up in the fever.

Bars in Soweto, the sprawling black township south of Johannesburg, were
packed with fans cheering the ‘Boks’ with the fervour of true believers.
Eateries and bars in the giant Indian community in Durban also swayed with
supporters. [Link]

White, black and brown — united in showing their support, united in shouting, "Another beer please!"

Elsewhere multiracial crowds danced and sang at fan parks in scenes
reminiscent of the celebrations that erupted in 1995. Back then, the rugby
championship coincided with the honeymoon of the transition to a multiracial
democracy after the first free elections in 1994.
 

"Colour didn’t matter. We hugged, cried and kissed across the racial lines.
Our collective blood was green," Andrew Molefe, a Sowetan journalist, wrote on
Monday after watching the game in a pub in Benoni, a white conservative enclave. [Link]

Color shouldn’t matter, especially when you’re celebrating a national victory. As one man said, "I’m eager to share my joy with everyone. I don’t care whether they’re black, white or brown, I’m going to hug and kiss as many women as possible!"

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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