Soon after, a video emerged on social media of the All Blacks team and management unloading a substantial amount of luggage from a truck on a hot day and Twitter erupted! “Teamwork!” “That’s what separates them from the rest”, “The Boks will never do something like that”, “That’s why I support them” they said. Well, to be honest, I was impressed too. Until I heard that the Boks does the same thing, all the time in fact, it just does not get filmed. It was just a piece of well-articulated PR then, I argued. Fact is, because the mighty All Blacks were in town, their every move was being watched and filmed by the die hard “Cape Crusaders”, a name given to the thousands of All Black fans from Cape Town, and, because it’s 2017, footage was uploaded to social media and people were raving about it.
I have to admit, The New Zealand All Blacks is a PR dream. They are (by far) the best rugby team in the world. No doubt about that. And they have that been that for a while now. Only the 2009 Bok team of Peter de Villiers managed to beat the All Blacks on a regular basis. They are skillful, play an attractive, attacking brand of rugby, are great guys off the field, have magnificent Maori tribal-Inspired tattoos, they have the imposing and dynamic haka and of course, the ladies love them.
Where are you going with this, I hear you ask. Yesterday (17 October 2017) I was alerted by Facebook that I was mentioned in a comment. It was a News24 article by my very good friend, Janine-Lee van der Post, about this very subject- The New Zealand All Blacks. About how she’s fallen in love with rugby since marrying the love of her life, Clavern (a Cape Crusader), and more profoundly- with the All Blacks. Now I myself have noticed the recent posts on Instagram about her attending his club rugby games, trips to Newlands and more worryingly for me: Her sporting an All Blacks cap. An All Blacks cap? Janine? I have known her since the late 90’s and the Janine I know doesn’t know (or care) much about any sport other than motorsport. She will claim to support a certain English Premier League Football team but that would not be 100% accurate as she hardly knows the difference between her supposed team and the other English teams in red. So for my dear friend to now watch rugby at Newlands and spend money on rugby merchandise, is something totally out of character.
She goes on to say that she now knows the difference between a loosehead prop and a flyhalf, what collapsing the scrum is, what the haka is, that it has different versions and she even claims to know two thorns in the Springboks flesh for so long; Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. She also claims to be “proudly South African” and that’s exactly where I want to enter the side of the ruck (much like McCaw did for so long) and create turnover ball!
How is it okay for thousands of South Africans to still support the All Blacks at the expense of their own country AND think it’s fine to do so? They hide behind excuses like “they play a great brand”, “there’s no politics in NZ sport”, “I have supported them since apartheid and I don’t like that stampkar or kicking rugby the Boks play” and many other “iffy” excuses. That’s despite the facts that New Zealand toured apartheid South Africa (and were paid huge amounts of money) in 1986 disguised as the NZ Cavaliers, the NZ Olympic team of 2016 was deemed as being way too white (Cleaver, 2016)or that it’s a proven fact that NZ kicks out of hand just as much and sometimes even more than other teams. What’s worrying for me is to see these people stand hand on heart and sing the national anthem of NZ with their adopted team. Even more so, and this really breaks my heart, is the fact that their children follow suit and so the cycle (unfortunately) continues. South African youth singing the national anthem of another country with the hands on their hearts AND refusing to sing Nkosi Sikele’ iAfrika. A prayer. THEIR anthem. These children grow up thinking their country is inferior to others, with no sense of national pride, no love for the flag and the anthem or the things that make (the rest of us, proudly) South African. Yet, the very same people say it’s “their democratic right” to do so.
Speaking of democracy, the late great ‘Madiba’ wanted rugby and the Springboks to unite the country in the mid 90’s when there was huge pressure on him to not do so. But he saw the potential that sport has as a tool of unification, of reconciliation. Yet it (still) causes so much division among our people.
I personally admire the All Blacks, I love the melody and the diversity of their anthem (much like our own) and the haka is incredible. But, I will never, EVER want them, or any other country for that matter, to beat my beloved South Africa at anything, let alone rugby.
My two 9 year old nieces, Zeta and Wade have also been “captured” and I will allow them to grow up and make their own decisions once they have the capacity to do so. Until then, they are free to jump on the Cape Crusaders bandwagon, like so many others around them.
My dream is that one day, all of us; myself, Janine, Clavern, Zeta, Wade and many other “Proud South Africans” will stand hands on hearts at Newlands or Cape Town Stadium and sing our anthem in unison with pride and sincerity and support our country together. Hopefully South Africa will win the upcoming bid to host the Rugby World Cup and #SA2023 can serve as a timeline target…
I do understand that a lot of hard work lies ahead for government, SARU, the rugby fraternity, media and civil society to rectify the status quo but, I firmly believe that with the right attitude and a long term constructive plan, it is achievable.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela.
Janine’s article can be found by following the link below.