As I sit here this morning, nursing a moerse baabelas, curtesy of a 22-man rugby team plying their trade in the Land of The Rising Sun, I wonder what a marvel it is to win a World Cup Championship for the third time. Then I ponder what it was like for the Brazilians to win the Football World Cup, five times. The jubilation and euphoria compared to any other event is incomparable, given that football and rugby are the apex of global sports. Knowing the Brazilian affinity to party and celebration, I think South Africans may come a close second.
But what happens when the euphoria and celebrations are over, after the music had died, the barman retired, the guests had all left; what else do we have left but the pride of a 22–man squad that had overcome the odds of a rugby game?
Yet we had the pleasure of experiencing that THREE times.
So, in light of our unique sporting experience, has an 80 minute game of rugby really united a nation as the media would have us believe? If so, what happened in 1995, 1996, and 2007 when the Rugby World Cup, the African Nations cup and again the Rugby World cup, respectively, acceded to the talent of South African sport? Did those sporting achievements really have such an effect on our psyche that we can truly say; we really are a united, rainbow nation?
After the euphoria and jubilation had dissipated, what have you got, at the end of the day; What have you got, to take away; A bottle of whisky, and a new set of lies; Blinds on a window, and a pain behind the eyes……..but, scarred for life we will always be; because no sport will cure a lifetime of an economic hangover, pretentiously……?
Ok. So I stretched the point with a little Dire Straits classic…..but, nevertheless; what do we really have after the euphoria? Let’s unpack it a little from 1995…..don’t worry I won’t bore you with a long winded……ah fuck….whatever…..this won’t take long.
The 1995 Rugby World Cup win was a godsend from heaven for the nation’s populace (or so we believed). We were literally trying to recover from the other moerse monumental baabelas of the miracle of 1994, when suddenly we were bombarded with another (miracle) of epic proportions. If politics and sport were a drug at the time, we would be loaded with coke, heroin, dagga, and every other drug that was available, and life had fuck-all on us! We were invincible, as we took in the miracle of the transformation of our (new) country. We were the superhero of Hulk, Superman, Spiderman and every other Marvel character from Gotham City.
That’s what was portrayed to the world.
What was not as famous was the economic situation of the masses ignored by the Apartheid Monster. Again, let me not bore you with the details. But, what really came out of the 1995 victory was the unmitigated embarrassment of one Chester Williams (Bless his rugby soul) who couldn’t find decent employment in his field of expertise; let alone the despicable manner in which he was treated by his so called “team mates”, until the University of Western Cape “took him in”.
By the time of the other “miracle of 2007”, the national unemployment statistics had already jumped from 17% to 23%. How do I ask you, with tears in my eyes could this have possibly united a nation? By my unrefined logic, I would’ve thought that a job for all would make for a society equal and acceptable by all? But no, the government of the day had no such vision. The government of the day was lost in limbo. The Springbok victory of 2007 was the achievement and highlight of the year. FUCK THE PROBLEM OF UNEMPLOYMENT!
Fast forward to 2019, and the unemployment statistics have ballooned to a whopping 29,2%. And that is the “official” unemployment rate for Satafrika. Expanded unemployment, including people that have just decided “fuck this, I’m gatvol of even looking for a job”, has reached around 37%. So, from a “reasonable” employable base of around 20%, and, I’m not sure what my point was supposed to be here, but anyone can see that coupled with the expanded unemployment rate of 37% and whatever other fucking statistic they come with for unemployment in this country would correlate my ambit of argument. I’m not sure if that really makes sense, but you know what I mean….or do you?
Winning a global sporting showpiece in this country is just another drug fix to the population that goes on a high for 24 hours, who is then brought back to earth by reality when that euphoric drug has worn off. The millions are still unemployed, the cost of living is still sky high, society is still divided by wealth and status, and the DA has quietly shifted a little to the right….sneaky mutherfuckers, those.