Sensitive Springbok Supporters

‘Sharky’ kindly left me a comment about my previous post, and without wanting to publicly shame the person, I feel that his comments are important enough to warrant broader readership than those who plough through the arbitrary comments below the blog entry of a complete stranger (bless you if you have that much time on your hands). Without further ado, over to Sharky:

The only single thing that has ever brought this country together is the Springbok Rugby Team, twice.
Those advocates of getting rid of the emblem as a reminder of some idiotic past policy should get a life and forget walking around with a chip on their very racist shoulders.
One day, when hell freezes over, our national soccer team may make us proud as a nation and perhaps the problem is the fact they have a name nobody is proud of!
I strongly suspect those who support getting rid of the Springbok emblem don’t have any idea of the game of rugby anyway!

Thanks Sharky. Regardless of the tone of what follows, I do appreciate your comments.

OK, if we’re going to take a light-hearted post far too seriously, let’s be serious for a minute. I would consider the ‘bringing together’ effected by the world cups to be extremely superficial, and not based on anything real or lasting. It certainly didn’t stop a whole residence on UFS from rejecting the very concept of integration in the most derogatory way imaginable. One wonders also why the winning of the African Cup of Nations (our soccer team has made us proud before) didn’t have a similar impact on white folk as we expect the rugby to have had on blacks.

I can understand why you address the Apartheid system as some distant hazy memory that is now a ‘chip’ on the shoulders of the true ‘racists’, by which I think you mean black people who oppose the Springbok emblem. I can understand where it comes from, but it is a deeply, deeply naive and ignorant thing to say. I recently did a bit of self education on Black Consciousness and the Apartheid struggle, and it opened my eyes to the issues from the perspective of those who suffered under it. It was an evil that we can never hope to undo or forget, and it struck a vicious blow to the heart of human dignity, one that will be felt for generations. This is to say nothing of the social and economic disaster that we continue to feel as a direct result. I imagine that a once-prosperous family that was booted out of the city and onto a distant wasteland, with no way of affording transport to work and no prospect of receiving an education, just for being too tan, and now watching their grandchildren literally die of starvation, I imagine that they’re not finding it so easy to dust off Apartheid.

Your suggestion that we should all have just forgotten about it by now, and that those who remain offended by it are racists, is the kind of bigotry that continues to add boorish insult to deep injury. Take off your rugby boots and wear someone else’s shoes for a while.

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