So the Springboks were crowned rugby world champions once again – well done boys. Our pride and joy travelled all the way to Japan, a country most famous for inventing one of the world’s oldest and influential martial art, Karate. As intimidating as that sounds Siya Kolisi and his men were prepared for battle and were willing to withstand any Karate chop or spinning kick that could potentially await them on the field, if things didn’t go Japan’s way of course. Pretty brave squad I tell you.
‘Veni, vidi, vici’, the Springboks came to Japan and saw the world cup they had been coveting for the past 12 years before conquering the tournament and being crowned Rugby World Champions 2019. What a beautiful feeling this achievement brought to rugby lovers and patriotic South Africans in general. But this week-long euphoria didn’t necessarily intoxicate everyone it crossed paths with.
The Economic Freedom Fighters were very vocal about their disregard for the Springboks’ victory and even labeled the post-world cup celebrations as ‘fake unity’ as people from all races came together to celebrate the boks’victory during their countrywide celebratory tour.
At the weekend EFF’s, former National Chairperson, Dali Mpofu stated in an interview that he wasn’t part of the Springboks’ celebrations because there was no authenticity in the occasion. He argued that when the euphoria had subsided the harsh reality of poverty and economic inequality would still be prevalent in South Africa. There’s truth in this statement that the challenges faced by ordinary South Africans won’t be eradicated by parading the streets and cheering the boks on.
But can’t we escape the gruesome reality we wrestle with everyday of our lives for one week? Mbuyiseni Ndozi reiterating his compadre’s sentiments in parliament on Tuesday when he made a long speech lambasting the Springboks. “This parade is an abuse of people who gave too many cheeks to racism. There will be no racial unity until the land comes back, or until the wealth in this country is shared between all of the people who live in it”, he uttered.
His criticism was met with boo’s as he further stated that once the celebrations were over the white supporters should go home and sing ‘Die Stem’. These words are scathing in every sense of the word and are not only aimed at the selected few guilty of perpetuating racism but an entire race. Speaking of racism lock Eben Etzebeth was accused of assaulting 2 coloured men outside a pub a while ago and using a racial slur. The Human Rights Commission of South Africa opened a prima facie case of unfair discrimination and hate speech against Etzebeth, before the boks departed for Japan, but nothing has happened to date and Etzebeth was selected to play in the world cup.
One could also assume and attribute the EFF’s frustration over the boks’ situation to the Eben Etzebeth case. The law should definitely take its course and get to the bottomof the Etzebeth saga but an entire team can’t be punished based on allegations aimed at one man.