I walked past a lampost today that proclaimed another twist in the ‘Springbok emblem saga’. Well that’s important enough to keep the announcement of the new World president off the headlines…
But seriously, why is everyone getting so worked up about this? People kicked up almost no fuss when the cricketers got labelled ‘The Proteas’ (not the most inspiring of emblems, but at least it’s not likely to spawn an annoying dancing foam-covered mascot). And what’s at stake here anyway? After all, we’ve grown used to some of the most appalling names and emblems, for example:
- The French rugby team are represented by a chicken. A chicken! Tremble in fear before them!
- One of our provinces, with free reign to choose any mascot, decided upon the ‘Cheetahs’. Now, English might not be too popular over in the Free State, but have they not heard the proverb, ‘Cheetahs never prosper’?
- Our soccer team is called Bafana Bafana, which means ‘boys boys’. I think the duplication is a form of intensification, but despite having a nice ring to it, it’s not the most flattering handle. Anyway, the point is that it’s not as if renaming our football team ‘The Hardcore Demon World Champion Soccer Heroes’ is going to earn us the cup in 2010. [And I think that name is taken by the Japanese national team].
- And then have we noticed that our entire country is called South Africa. Have you thought about how absolutely devoid of life that name is? ‘We live in Africa. Right in the South. South Africa.’ When presented with the majesty of Table Bay, the Drakensberg, the Valley of a Thousand Hills… inspiration struck and we came up with South Africa. We are the international equivalent of mugs that have the word ‘coffee’ printed on them.
So, who cares if it gets changed? If most of the country associate it with racism, then let’s get rid of it. It’s not like it’s the most appropriate symbol anyway. Sure, it’s a local animal, but real Springbokke are little antelope that are fleet of foot and agile. South African rugby and its supporters are not. My mental picture of South African rugby is a bald white man with untidy body hair, no neck and three extra stomachs for beer. Perhaps our new emblem should be a gorilla. Or a tractor.