I’ve never been so proud to say I’m South African, as I’ve experienced these past few days. South Africa, winning the rugby World Cup for the 3rd time! The Springboks, played like warriors, with such dedication, courage and commitment. Not only for themselves, together as a team, but they played for 67 million South Africans, backing them up and supporting their country.
Back here in France, I watch the rugby and felt the unity, support and dynamic uplifting positive energy from the South African nation all across the world from the fans in Japan to the fans in South Africa. In just about every city, shebeen, township, household, pub in South Africa, people were roaring with true African Spirit, for the Springboks. It was a nostalgic moment, as in 1995 when we won the rugby World Cup and Nelson Mandela wore the Springbok shirt with pride and helped unite the country together. He lifted the winning trophy with Francois Pienaar, Captain at the time of the Springboks and the country again was uplifted with jubilation and unity. Bringing together once again the rainbow nation.
Siya Kolisi, the Springbok Captain is such an inspiration to people, not only to his fellow players of the Springboks, South African rugby team and his coach, Johan Erasmus. But also to the younger generation in South Africa and across the world. He has given them hope, to follow their dreams and even amidst the current challenges in everyday life in South Africa, he explains how he once, as a child, had no food to eat, had stomach pains from hunger and walked to school barefoot, with no shoes, because of the poverty. Yet, he still had hope and his local community, family and friends encouraged him to play rugby, he continued to go to practise and walk home in the dark.
This is the African philosophy, of UBUNTU, “I am because we are.”
You cannot truly be a winner in life, if it’s all about yourself ‘I’ the ego self and not about the community. The Ubuntu philosophy is how does everyone else benefit because I win?
Today being South African is not about colour, race, creed or religion. Once again, we have shown to fellow South Africans and to people around the world, that we are indeed united as a ‘rainbow nation.’ Regardless of our past (what country doesn’t have a past), and it’s problems. We still in our hearts carry this spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ which, is what makes us strong and courageous in spirit. This deepens our connection to one another, the land, nature our animals. Carrying compassion in our hearts, because within everyday struggle, within every day survival, it strengthens us individually and together we are united.
This article is written to express the gratitude and appreciation to the South African Springbok team, the great Nelson Mandela, Madiba and in memory of my late father, David Brider, who was a huge rugby fan, and took me to many matches throughout my life. Thank you for showing me the love and inspiration for his incredible sport!
-words written by Colleen – Ukuhamba