With reference to someone’s blabbering about a Nation that has its head stuck so far in it’s own behind, allow REM to shed some light on a South African perspective. Mere words have been changed, and it sounds a tad better.
It might not be politically correct in a world in which the Queen licks her balls. In a world where Pommies, Communist and the KKK all tend to disagree with me when I say that South Africa, despite all it’s faults is the most beautiful country on this earth.
We have grown to be independent in this country, often without realizing or appreciating the fact that we have gone from a nation divided to a rainbow nation with great aspirations. Let us hear from you but first consider what South African Sport and competitors have given us-and continue to give.
South Africa is a packed Ellis Park and brandy and coke on a sunny summer’s afternoon and singing Liefling at Loftus Versfeldt. It is a Shaun Bartlett piledriver, a Greame Pollock cover drive and Eddie Andrews’ tears as Nkosi Sikilele plays.
South Africa is the J&B Met, Cape Argus Cycle Tour and the Two Oceans Marathon, all three the envy of the sporting world. It is a packed Bull Ring on the first morning of the Boxing Day Test and a raucous Centurion as the sun sets on another Nelson Mandela Challenge. It is the glorious Comrades Marathon-the best ultra marathon in the world-it is Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates, Sundowns vs Supersport United and Ajax Cape Town tackling Santos. It is Vasco Da Gama being promoted to the PSL topflight without a proper stadium.
South Africa is the Durban July, Jungle Wood and Fort Wood. The Birch brothers, Killarney, Turffontein and the Summer Cup. The shibeen in Khayelitsha and the perfection of the Western Province Bowling Association winning yet another tournament.
South Africa is a proud Neil Tovey on his colleagues’ shoulders and John Smit holding high another World Cup. It is Zola Bud and Elana Meyer at their best. It is Piet Retief at Kop aan Kop. South Africa is Jody Scheckter’s inspiration to taxi drivers, Willie Hills’ jaw, Wahl Bartmann’s ears, Peter Kirsten’s knees, Helman Mkelele’s metatarsals, Naas Olivier’s clasped hands and a Penny Heyns smile.
South Africa is the naughty boy charm and world beating talent of Thomas Scheckter and Brian Mitchell, all round skill of Doctor Khumalo.and the die hard aggression and racing instinct of Giniel De Villiers. South Africa is the peerless Hugh Bladen, Gary Bailey, Gerald Davies…and there goes Errol Tobias as well. It is the poetry of Breyten Breytenbach, Antjie Krog, the eloquent silences of Jimmy Clegg behind the mike and Gareth Cliff reading the football results on a Saturday evening.
South Africa is the matchless 7de Laan Ragatta on SABC2 and the Shosoloza taking on the world. Okkert Brits doing back flips of joy in the pole vault pit, Llewellyn Herbert looking bewildered and Mark Lange tearing up the last five and leaving the rest in his smoke.
South Africa is Hansie Cronje out-thinking the opposition, Herschelle Gibbs, outdrinking, outsmoking and outplaying the same. It is the Protea, The Springbok beauty and breathtaking ability of Caster to outrun her opponents and the Queen still think she got balls, and the glorious running of another dashing player, Danie Gerber as he scored not once, not twice but three times against a Touring English side in 1984 at Ellis Park.
South Africa is the Ernie Els in the zone, the timeless perfection of Gary Player, the gung-ho courage of Trevor Immelman. It is Retief Goosen sharing post-match Black Labels with the opposition. In the effortless cool of Morne Steyn and the enduring bravery of Frik Du Preez.
South Africa is rugby in the rain at Newlands, Durban in Summer, the KFC mini cricket tournament, the Selbourne Easter rugby weekend. It is the Stawberry Festival, Aardklop and Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn. And it is the thought, bordering on obsession, of finally winning the World Cup in cricket, another Saffa winning the Masters, Bafana Bafana ranking in the top 20’s again and above all else defend the Rugby World Cup.
South Africa is the beauty of Table Mountain, the Drakensberge, Sun City, the Gold Coast, the Boland Winelands, Kruger Wildtuin and Die Groot Gat in Kimberley.
“I dream of a Africa, in peace with itself.” Nelson Mandela probably was not thinking about sport at the time but his words ring ever true.
God Bless Nelson Mandela, The Springbok, Leon Schuster, Charlize Theron, Soweto String Quartet, Hugh Masikela, Table Mountain, Gold Reef City and all the citizens of this wonderful nation.