Tag Archive: rugby

Rugby world cup and ball

Those who know me know i’m not the biggest fan of rugby. i will watch if the Springboks are playing and get a little more excited when it is the World Cup. Throw me into a Superbru game [although a round late so desperately just trying to catch up] and it comes a little more alive and meaningful.

And after a couple of rounds of games, with the quarters for the most part locked up, here are some thoughts i have had or reflections from what i have seen so far. Continue reading

i have loved the conversation going on in the comments section of the blog piece Nkosi wrote for me on First Steps White South Africans can make towards a really new South Africa. My friend Lex passed on a response from her friend, Sindile, which i thought would be good to use as a standalone post as i’m sure it will also generate some good conversation. So we would love to hear from you and please take part in the spirit of working towards transformation that has been so strong thus far. But this is what Sindile Vabaza had to say on the matter.


Let me begin by saying that the title of this piece bothers me a lot because embedded within it are some potentially tricky issues which are often left untouched.

Who gets to define this really new South Africa and who gives them this right and before that can we in any real sense talk about what people can do to bring this promised land about without agreeing on some baseline requirements?

That is what I want to focus on.

What I believe we need to agree on as South Africans.

Firstly I think we need to stress that important issues of challenging Apartheid’s spatial legacy, of redress, of land and of economic and social transformation have to be rooted and situated in the historical narrative of the liberation movement, namely that South Africa is a grand project in non-racialism and non-sexism, a nation that seeks to cast off the restrictive, bigoted, racist, sexist and homophobic past and become a place where there is neither ‘black’ domination or ‘white’ domination, a place where all South Africans have the right to self define and self actualise  and reach their potential.

In framing it in that context, we must then look at all the numerous ways in which we must change society to achieve that end.

It seems to me that one of the main reasons many white people do not want to talk about hot button issues like those mentioned above is that they are often framed out of their proper historical context and dripping with racial antagonism.

We must all admit that the debates in this country are dripping with racial antagonism.

One of the ways I have serendipitously avoided and have remained untainted by this antagonism is that over the years I have built meaningful relationships with people from different racial backgrounds. This experience conditioned my sensitivity to multiple perspectives and vantage points that exist within and about the country.

There is simply no substitute for relationship.

What these relationships have led me to doing is going on a journey to finding a principled approach to the country’s problem but one that takes into account that there needs to be a measure of self-interest if we want people to change their minds and behaviour, in fact how I present different issues to people is conditioned by the insights I have gained from this approach.

Let’s take the issue of transformation in sport for example. Many people fall at the issue of quotas. I personally disagree with quotas but fully support transformation.

Sport has two basic elements:

The ability to compete and competition itself.

Not being serious about transformation means that a large sector of society(mostly young, poor black athletes cannot compete on a fair basis with their economically well off counterparts) and quotas kill the competition aspect itself by entitling a sector of society to a sport’s team.

The proper response to this inequality is development and intensive skills transfer programs with coaches in disadvantaged areas(a self-interest point for them), what this also does is open up the possibilities of growing rugby as a game both sportingly and commercially(a self-interest point for administrators and white south africans in general who support the game). Growing the sport this way means that rugby can become not only a unifying force in the country, it will mean that rugby players can be kept by smaller unions, meaning increased competition and a bigger talent pool for both super rugby and the Springboks(a self-interest point for all South Africans and something which achieves the end goals of the country as a whole)

This kind of thinking can be applied to a whole number of social issues and can serve in some instances in moving the needle forward on an issue, in others it can solve the seemingly intractable conundrums and in others it can make solutions incredibly obvious.

This is why I believe this kind of baseline agreement between all of us as South Africans is so important. It gives us a foundation point from which to debate and work issues out without being fearful of being labelled ‘racist’ or ‘token black’ or whatever other labels. It also gives us a uniting point from which we can unanimously reject lunatics like Steve Hofmeyr and movements like Red October.

Combined with relationship building I believe this kind of thing can be a powerful tool with which South Africans in all their varying contexts can begin imagining a different and better future for us all especially future generations, because no empty rules and suggestions can ever substitute for the real humanity that comes from mutuality, understanding and indeed respect and love, and that’s the point, there are no rules to how white people and black people should interact because our skin colour is fundamentally meaningless(an evolutionary by-product of the weather), it is our base instincts and the architects of racialism like the Apartheid government that made us believe that such a thing is a dividing point for humanity; like the machines of Matrix, they constructed a false world for us while draining our souls and our humanity and using some of us for cheap slave labour for their uber capitalist projects.

Race says nothing of who you really are because it predisposes a person towards nothing and in fact is a slave to other concerns like culture, politics, economics and geography.

So what should white people do in this country? Same thing as everyone else: do the difficult work of reclaiming their humanity and situating themselves in the larger narrative and dream of non-racialism that undergirds this nation at it’s most fundamental level

[For more conversations, ideas and engagements on Race, click here]


i took a moment at lunchtime yesterday to step out of my body and just really take in what was happening in front of my eyes:

a guy busy in mid phone conversation running in to bowl to a batsman trying to play shots with just his left hand on the bat [as he had broken his right hand recently in a sister-encouraged skateboarding incident gone horribly wrong] while South African Sevens rugby player Paul Delport [who my two friends referred to as Thinus Delport the whole time and i didn’t just cos i didn’t know any better altho that was the name i recognised] stood to the side waiting for a catch…

okay it was not quite the 438 SA win over Australia that took place mostly while i was cycling a really enthusiastic Argus Cycle tour on the 12th of March, 2006, which in all probability was the greatest one day cricket match ever, but it felt like it should have been up there with the real sense of surreal that pervaded what was taking place before my eyes…

a moment later my friend MJ [aka Muscle-John, Majay, Michael-John] was writhing on the ground with the agony that cannot be properly addressed or tended to as my other mate [one armed skateboarding Roy Conrad Langhein] had the ‘great idea’ of emulating 2.21m [7 foot three] Pakistan bowling giant Mohammad Irfan by hoisting MJ on to his shoulders to bowl a ball from the same height, not taking into account that the forward motion and energy of delivering the ball might affect the centre of gravity so much that Mj would go tumbling forwards off Roy [altho with bits of him not able to go forward as easily due to Roy’s head being in the way causing said infliction] and deciding to rather appreciate Irfan’s height and bowling ability from the stands.

Really not Thinus Delport this one

we ended up sitting two rows behind Paul and he was just such a friendly dude. he spent a lot of time chatting to us about the rugby sevens set up and the first win SA had had in a tournament for a bunch of years which they had just returned from and some of the training schedules and so on. for me this really captured the heart of what test cricket watching in SA has always been about – the vibe and the people and the fun and the chance to unwind and forget for a second about the seriousness and tragedy of all that is going on in the country and the reminder of why it is important to leave the game at the end of the day and take up the struggles of being a part of making a difference in all those difficult areas so that days of cricket can be enjoyed.

the day ended with these two young black kids about ten rows in front of us just picking up the vibe of the beat of the music that was playing and dancing with such life and energy and just seemingly for themselves – we all cheered when the camera guy finally saw them and trained his camera on them and we are hoping they made it onto highlights footage of the day, but they really just seemed to encapsulate the hope and life and energy that exists in south africans and especially the youth of this country and the hope that difference and chance and betterment is possible and achievable and, dare i say it, even likely?

what a day. what a game. what a vibe. more, South Africa, more.

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