The power of unity
One of my favourite poems of all time is Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night.” While the poem is commonly interpreted as a son’s appeal to his ailing father to sustain his will to live, it has always resonated more profoundly with me, encapsulating the prevailing spirit of South Africans today. We’re a tenacious bunch and it is probably not too surprising that our desire to survive and thrive, no matter the adversity we face, is tattooed on our nation’s psyche. Which brings me to sport and more specifically rugby and our heroic Boks.
You see, rugby is not just a game for us. It is synonymous with life in South Africa for many South Africans of different backgrounds. Some of our very own Boks have traversed incredible tragedy and poverty. They have themselves raged against the dying of the light and not gone gently into the good night!
For many, everything started to change the moment when Francois Pienaar held up the Webb Ellis Cup with our beloved Madiba in 1995, for his rainbow nation. Who would have thought that we would be able to not only host the prestigious Rugby World Cup in SA, but also beat the mighty All Blacks to claim the coveted title just a year into our fledgling new democracy.
And now, almost 30 years in, we get to fight for the title again. Yes, we have many, many problems and many bad days, but should we be successful in our latest quest, it’ll be our fourth win. Currently only New Zealand and South Africa have earned the honour three times.
Oh and how we’ve persevered! South African fans have been on the edge of their seats over the last few weeks, with our boys delivering wins by just one point in the quarters against the passionate, resolute host nation, France. And then again in the semi-finals against the determined England team. Faith, trust and pixie dust is what it took – our boys have fought so hard to get to the Rugby World Cup final this weekend.
The memes, the messages, the love. We are #backingtheboks all the way. And they are right, this is not just about them, or rugby anymore. It’s for the fans back in South Africa (and in France or anywhere else for that matter). South Africans are united in one call #GOBOKKEGO!
In the crucible of contest where legends arise,
The Springboks, our warriors, reach for the skies.
Through trials and tribulations, fierce battles fought,
In the heart of the fray, our champions sought.
Against the hosts, in quarters so tight,
A single-point victory, in the dimming night.
Oh France, our heartbeats echoed so loud,
In the theatre of dreams, where passion’s endowed.
Once more in the semis, against the English might,
Again by one, we claimed the victorious fight.
Our hearts raced, our spirits soared high,
In the realm of the giants, beneath the vast sky.
Now awaits a nemesis, in black jerseys they stand,
The All Blacks, fierce rivals, on destiny’s grand strand.
In this colossal clash, where histories entwine,
May the Springboks emerge, in triumph divine.
For Rugby’s much more, a saga profound,
In the soul of South Africa, where heartbeats resound.
May the Boks embody our hopes and our dreams,
In a tapestry woven with gold and green seams.
So let’s rally behind them, in unity we sing,
To the Springboks, our heroes, our love we shall bring.
In the battle immense, with courage in sight,
May the cup be ours, in victory’s sweet light.