Free State Province has long carried the label as the African ‘capital of rascism’. Rugby has been painted an Afrikaner sport. The national rugby team, the Springboks have won the World Championship twice in recent memory, including the year South Africa hosted the tournament in 1995.
When South Africa’s Bafana Bafana enter Mangaung Stadium in the Free State Capital of Bloemfentain against France on Tuesday, they will be operating on a different level, different mission and different name.
The South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup presents the game of football as yet another media to unite both the black and white South African people, as did the Rugby World Cup back then. Football is generally percieved as a black sport, lagging in sponsorship to rugby and cricket.
Now rugby, with it’s infectious success then, is meeting football, with its heartbreaking failures now, at the central province of the country. There is no better way than to share your happy times and sad times, wins and losses for both black and white, than at a Tuesday football match in a rugby province.
The union can only be complete on a honey moon, after the South African football team has pulled out a miraculous performance. As the Afrikaneer rugby has Springboks for their Afrikaner name, the black football team is not stealing anything by being AmaBhokobhoko, the black name of the same thing.
Simunye, We are one.