Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa was full of praise for the men in the green and gold in his latest newsletter on Monday.
However, Ramaphosa believes that the Springboks achieved much more than just a golden victory in France. This rugby team united a nation.
“The Springboks’ journey to the historic victory in the 2023 World Cup is as much about our journey to nationhood as it is about sporting excellence,” says Ramaphosa.
He then points out in his newsletter that the Springboks have achieved all four World Cup victories since the dawn of democracy and held the prestigious Webb Ellis trophy aloft – an unparalleled record.
“When South Africa participated in the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 1995, our democracy was only a year old. There was only one black player on the team at the time, the legendary Chester Williams. Of the team that played in last weekend’s final, just under half were black players, including the team captain, Siya Kolisi.”
Ramaphosa says the Springboks’ victory “is also about our firm aspiration that representation in all facets of public life, including sport, will serve as a powerful symbol of the cherished values on which this country was established and founded”.
“The fiery, colorful and poignant displays of national pride from South Africans at home and abroad during this tournament show that perhaps like never before the Springboks have been embraced by all races as their own.”
Ramaphosa says the videos on social media in which Makazole Mapimpi is applauded by customers and shop staff while he shops, and those of Eben “Elizabedi” Etzebeth and RG Snyman dancing with South African supporters near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, are of his ” personal favourites”.
“The fact that so many South Africans don the national team’s colors and show their support online and on other platforms speaks of the deep love for our country and of our ability to stand together even when the going gets tough.
“We need more of this, and not just in the area of sports performance.
“If the story of the transformation of South African rugby, a sport that was once the bastion of racial domination, is any indication, our country will continue to reap the rewards of change provided we unite and stay on course .
“The patriotism we display in sports stadiums must be reflected in our approach to overcoming our challenges. We are all in this together as government, businesses, the labor sector, civil society and citizens.”
- Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation on Monday 20:00 in light of the Springboks’ World Cup victory.