The following speech was delivered by the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition, Natasha Mazzone MP, during Parliament’s Tribute to the Springbok Rugby Team:
“There’s a dream, I feel
So real, so real
All the world in union
The world as one”
Never could we have imagined that the lyrics to what is now known as the Rugby World Cup theme song would be so prophetic.
Our country has been in a bad way. Our people divided, hate becoming the norm, leaving many people feeling more than a little helpless and vulnerable. The problem was that we as a people were forgetting who we were. The times in which we found ourselves had made it hard for any of us to see the light of the flame that burns in each and every one of us.
That flame that reminds us that we are the nation of love, kindness, forgiveness, resilience, determination, and bravery. It’s the flame that burns in the South African soul that many have tried to extinguish but have failed at every attempt. It’s that flame that tells us that we are better when we are together, that we are in fact Stronger Together.
It is that flame that causes us to always revert to our default position as a nation, which is love. It is that flame that causes us to have the best sense of humour in the world, the flame that allows us to do the vosho to Sho’Madjozi, a langarm to Kurt Darren and the bus stop to Vulindlela all while wearing our Springbok jerseys and flying our rainbow national flag.
You see, I know this love to be our country’s default position because you cannot fake the utter joy that was felt by 99.99% of South Africans when Siya Kholisi lifted the Webb Ellis trophy. You cannot fake that 99.99% of South Africans had a tear run down their cheek when Springbok coach Rassie Erasumus gave us a masterclass in nation building. You cannot fake the laugher and happiness we all felt when Faf de Klerk met Prince Harry in the Bok change room wearing nothing but a South African flag speedo. You cannot fake the outpouring of love that spontaneously erupted on the streets of South Africa, and in our airports, when the Springboks arrived home for their victory tour.
This is what it means to be South African. It means looking around and acknowledging the horrors too many are faced with, but knowing that there is nothing wrong with South Africa that cannot be fixed by what is right in South Africa.
One mind, one heart
Every creed, every colour
Once joined, never apart”
What a team. WHAT. A. TEAM! The level of determination, strength of character, sportsmanship and comradery was just a wonder to behold. I had the extreme honour of meeting some of the team when they started their Cape Town tour, I was immediately struck by two things, the first was their humility and patriotism, the second was that none of them have quite yet realized that they came to the rescue of a country when we were at a frighteningly low point. This squad of gentle giants rescued us from a path of hate that some amongst us were attempting to lead us down, and brought us back together. Love conquered hate. It wasn’t just their immense talent on the field, it was their very nature. Heroes in every sense of the word.
To the hosts, Japan, our sincerest thanks for your hospitality, goodwill and supreme sportsmanship. To you we say Doumo Arigatou.
Other countries wanted to win the World Cup, South Africa NEEDED to win the World Cup.
Thank you to our Springbok heroes! Go and take your place in the hall of legends and always remember, YOU ARE YOUR ANCESTORS WILDEST DREAMS!!