I miss the test at Ellis Park against the All Blacks because I go to shoot some buck up in the bush at Alldays in Limpopo (don’t worry, I use all the meat. And don’t moan, because it’s actually more ethic than the abattoir meat you buy at the supermarket in a styrofoam). But anyway, it was lekker to be away from a cell phone reception and even a TV reception. First I think maybe I make a mistake to miss the rugby, but when I was there, and the only whistle I hear is a Spookvoël at night, then I realise sometimes I must step away from things to see them clearly and we can become obsess about a lot of little things in life.
But anyway, I come home and I watch the tape of the rugby, and maybe because I am in this more filosofiese mood (and I know the flippen score already) I start to wonder my mind a little bit and I notice other things during the game. One thing I notice is again the South Africans who supports the All Blacks. I look at these guys and I start to think about it a bit more than just a superficial knee jerking that we all do. Because you know I don’t like this aggresiewe South African tendency to just make a k*k opinion because you are angry. If you think about something in a calm way and you look at it like I look at those night stars in the bush, and all the different animals that you find, then you can form a more clear and rationale opinion. And then if you are still the moer in, that’s fine, because at least you weigh all the angles (I hope). So I think about these South African All Black fans and the guys in the Cape that I saw — the Cape Crusaders — and this is what I think.
I think we are dealing with different animals all called under one name, and we must first separate them apart and look at them to understand them. First, lets look at a guy who have been a fan of the All Blacks since a long time ago, since during apartheid. Let’s call this guy for a argument sake a Older fan. Now this guy, he is probably not a white guy, and he probably supported the All Blacks against the Springboks because apartheid was not fun for him. And when the All Blacks toured here in the past, they not only have non-white players in the team (if our government allow it!) but they also sometimes sneak into non-white areas to meet the local people, like Brian Lochore and Pinetree Meads do in 1970 when they go to the townships. So this guy have a HUGE loyalty to the All Blacks. On top of that, his national team had a policy of not picking guys like him (and don’t come with a stupid Errol Tobias argument). So do I deny this guy passion for the All Blacks? No. This guy have a very real and very soulful connection to that team and I respect it. I know some beautiful stories of this guys who have start to support the Bokke and that is wonderful, but we must respect this allegiance regardless. One argument I hear from people is they say that it is the new SA so these people must get on board. Well, can I ask those same people (usually they are Afrikaans people) how easy it was for the Afrikaner to just embrace the English after the concentration camps and the war? Ja boetie… you understand now. It’s not for you to tell someone to “just move on” if him or his community have live through hard times.
Because now we come to a interesting thing. I respect his right to support the All Blacks, and I respect his right to influence his children… but in a country like South Africa that cry out for any little bit of unity and goodwill and cohesion amongst us, this is just plain selfish, unproductive and short sight. If apartheid was so bad like you say (and yes, we all agree it was) and it have such a long term consequences, why the hell would you make that consequences on? Why the hell would you complain about a big fire that burn you, but then you still light a match to start another little fire? We all have a right to do whatever we want, but as South Africans we must also look at the big picture and we must realise that we have a responsibility to do every small thing to draw us all together. This guy who train his kids to love the All Blacks, in a small way, actually just pass on the Apartheid disease. Let children decide for themselves, but more important, teach them to have a affiliation and a love for their own national symbols and heritage.
Some people will say — but the Springboks are not representative, so why must we support them? The answer is simple. This lack of representation does not automatically equal to racism or exclusion. To make a link between those two things, and to call a Bok coach a racist because he don’t choose enough non whites is lazy thinking. It’s a easy complaint for a lazy brain. Why do you think even Peter de Villiers did not choose so many non whites? Because generally, at the moment, white players in many positions at national level is better. Don’t moan that I am a racist, it is the truth. And we understand this because we understand that coaches can look at moerse lots of cold hard facts and statistics of players. It’s not just a “opinion”.
Why is this? Well there are more white children playing rugby, they have better coaching, better diets, better schools, better homes, better facilities — so that is why they generally outperform the other kids. And that is a legacy of Apartheid. Look, I know I speak in very big generalisations, but the point I try to make is that, at Springbok level, our coaches generally have chosen the best players. Think of all the pressure and threat of losing his job that Springbok coaches get, and the pressure of choosing black players, and tell me that this coach doesn’t CRY OUT for genuine world class black talent to have in his team. He will blerrie well be RELIEVED every time a Beast or a Habana or a Siya Kolisi pop up. By the way, it his not his job to create a Kolisi, that is SARU’s job. The coach can only choose the best. But that is a story for another day. Anyway, sorry I make a long a digress. What I say is this “lack of representation” is not a valid reason to love the All Blacks. Yes, a more representative Bokke will make it easier for people to love them, but we also have to win to get fans, with the small margins that only the best players gives you.
And this lead us to the next animal — the guy who support the All Blacks because they “play good rugby” or “because they are winners”. I already make my point about how this country cry out for any kind of unity, and how people who are selfish and short sighted like this actually in a small way perpetuates the divisions that apartheid wanted to cause (it’s crazy, hey?). But let’s forget that argument for now and look at this guy. Is he really different for example from a old friend of mine who grow up and live in Pretoria but have always support WP because he love the rugby they played? There’s no difference. We can support who we like, and we must respect that. We must not abuse this guy and drive him away, because there is a difference between supporting the All Blacks and hating the Bokke. In the case of this guy case, lets not turn him into the latter.
But now we get to the animal that irritate all of us. Once when I go to Newlands and I see this younger Cape Crusaders or All Black supporters, many of them behave in such a k*k way. They enjoy to rub it in our faces. They are like that friend who enjoy to have a radical opinion just because he can say it loud at the braai and he enjoy to piss other people off. Nobody likes that friend. We don’t respect this guy. Now I understand that many of these Cape Crusaders actually develop this k*k attitude because of the way they are treat at the stadium. They get racial abused and physical confront, so then this make them a resolve to give it all back. But if this guy expect a warm welcome then he is stupid. Even my friend who go to Loftus in his WP jersey in the 80s didn’t have a nice time. But he shutup and he stay under a radar because right or wrong WHEN YOU ARE IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HOUSE YOU DON’T K*K ON HIS CARPET. Of course that guy will be angry. What is my answer to handling this guys? It is hard, but we must just ignore them. It does not help the bigger picture to abuse them. That just give them the “evidence” they need for their sad little opinion. And so we go further apart…
And that is what I realise when I watch the game and I think about these local guys who support New Zealand. Maybe it were just the calm bushveld wisdom, but I realise that with this issue, and all issues in this country, we have a responsibility. Even if we like it or not.
We can respect South African All Blacks supporters — old ones and new ones — for different reasons. These guys can have a valid reason for who they support and we must make space for them. That is our responsibility. And it is also our responsibility to not be a d**s towards our fellow South Africans, even if they irritate us, because that just drive us all apart, and we are trying to get closer.
And I really believe these supporters has a responsibility to this young country of ours. If they genuine want to be part of what we are trying to build, even though it is slow and difficult, then maybe they can leave behind these silly games and come and join us in the hard work. At some point all of us in this country, these guys and you reading this artikel, must make a decision if we are on the train or off the train, and it will come down to seeing the responsibilities we actually have every day.