Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2013 Contents A42
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, December 9, 2013
SUN CITY---Reflecting Nelson Mandela s vision for
sport in his country, South Africa s multi-racial rugby
sevens team huddled Saturday in the middle of the
stadium named after the anti-apartheid leader, raised
their hands to the skies and joined them together.
The South Africans then won their game.
Mandela would have surely enjoyed it, just as he
famously delighted in the Springboks famous rugby
World Cup victory in 1995 or the country s historic
hosting of the 2010 football World Cup.
In the stands at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, blacks
and whites waved their country s colourful flag and
loudly cheered scores by the dreadlocked Cecil Afrika
and the team s blond captain, Kyle Brown.
"It s a real honour and privilege to be a South African
today," Brown said, apologising that he wasn t able to
give---in his eyes---a more poetic tribute to former pres-
ident Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95.
Brown said he would have liked to give a better
description of what Mandela meant to South Africa.
In fact, it was more incisive than he thought.
South African sport is now proud, and it wasn t
For decades it was instead splintered by racism like
every aspect of South Africa s apartheid-era society.
Black players were excluded and white ones vilified
for their perceived connection to a racist regime. Fans
at home turned on their own national teams until
Mandela told them to unite.
So, while mourning the loss of the nation s beloved
father figure, South Africa has decided its sporting
events---so central to the country s new unity---will go
on over the next days as a proud celebration of Mandela s
South Africans will play for Mandela; rugby players,
footballers, cricketers and more.
From the international rugby sevens tournament in
Port Elizabeth to a big domestic football cup final in
the northern city of Nelspruit later Saturday and a
cricket game between South Africa and visiting India
in the east coast city of Durban on Sunday.
"We celebrate a life well lived," sports minister Fikile
Mbalula said, announcing a plan for games for the
next week. "It s through sport that we do not differ-
entiate between white and black but are identified as
one nation. This is through the legacy that Mandela
Mbalula said that the national anthem---a mix of
five different languages---would be sung at every match
or tournament until Mandela is buried in a state funeral
near his rural South African home on December 15.
That day, next Sunday, no sport will take place.
But until then, the games will go ahead with their
tributes, moments of silence and players wearing black
armbands for Mandela. And fans coming together.
Every match will be dedicated to Mandela, Mbalula
In Port Elizabeth, in Mandela s home Eastern Cape
province, the South African rugby players wore their
black bands on their sleeves across an image of the
country s multicoloured flag as they beat Canada in
their opening game of the international World Sevens
Supporters held up Mandela banners, too, one with
"Madiboks"---a play on the words Madiba, the affec-
tionate clan name South Africans know Mandela by,
and the name of South Africa s rugby team, the Spring-
A young boy had one huge sign with a famous quote
from Mandela emblazoned across it in green and gold
letters, the colours worn by South Africa s national
sporting teams: "The greatest glory in living lies not
in never falling, but in rising every time we fall," the
"His memory will not only inspire us in our current
series against India," South Africa cricket captain AB
de Villiers said, "but also to always stick together as
a team representing a nation into the future. We will
Irvin Khoza, chairman of South Africa s Premier
Soccer League, urged players and fans to honour Man-
dela with every game.
"Ours is a special generation that saw Madiba in
action," Khoza said.
A soccer fan wearing a hat with portraits of former
president Nelson Mandela, sings and dances in
Johannesburg, South Africa, Saturday. South Africa is
readying itself for the arrival of a flood of world
leaders for the memorial service and funeral of Nelson
Mandela as thousands of mourners continued to flock
to sites around the country Saturday to pay homage
to the freedom struggle icon. AP PHOTO
South African sport goes on
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