There is no prouder nation on this earth this morning, as the Springboks came away with the William Webb Ellis Trophy following their close-call victory over England in Saturday night’s World Cup final. These things mean a great deal to any country, yet in South Africa, with all of its complexities and the issues that divided our past, it means all of that and a whole lot more.
While we’re very much a work in progress, to see our President, Thabo Mbeki hoisted high on the shoulders of the predominantly white players that stood beneath him, was a signal of considerable proportions, and in spite of the contradictions and confusions, we remain a country on course.
Sport has done more for the unity of South Africa than all the politicians and businessmen put together, and racing is no exception to that rule.
From the perspective of its advancement of the previously-disadvantaged community, racing is at the forefront in discharging its responsibilities to the nation, and without any prompting, Summerhill has been championing this cause long before we became a fledgling democracy in 1994.
Our hope is that in the years to come, our rugby champions will reflect the demographics of this country more evenly, because unleashing all the available talent will make us a stronger, more cohesive rugby-playing unit than we’ve even been, and that will save us having to recruit too many “Islanders” from the All Blacks.
Meanwhile, and because history tells us no nation has held the championship for more than four years, please come and visit us during that time, so that you can see the champions in action, for fear we give it up to some other country when New Zealand host the event in 2011. Until then, greetings from the champions!
It would be remiss of us to end this note without a word about the opposition. In true British style, England stuck to their dogged guns manfully, and tested us to the whistle. There were more than a few of us that remembered we had English blood coursing through so many of our veins, not to mention those of our horses. They were big in defeat too, in good old English fashion.
History will remember this world cup as a second Isandlwana, and we fear it will be four long years before you English get a shot at a repeat of Rorke’s Drift!
Images courtesy of sarugby.net