“Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers,” this was the sentiments of former President Nelson Mandela.
South Africa is a country currently in desperate need of good news.
We find ourselves facing a staggering unemployment rate, the economy is in a stagnation mode and Mandela’s rainbow nation project is in the ICU.
Sport has once again been tasked to bring hope to the nation.
This weekend, the Springboks will once again be expected to carry the hopes of a nation that is slowly departing from its core ethos.
The Boks will take on England in search of their third World Cup title in Japan.
It is a moment every rugby player dreams about and one chance to engrave one’s name in rugby history books.
Captain Siya Kolisi will be earning his 50th test cap, while the match will mark coach Rassie Erasmus’ last match in charge of the national team.
This is a not match that is more about Kolisi and Erasmus’ milestones, instead, this is a match that will revive Mandela’s social cohesion project.
Rugby has been one sport that has successfully brought together and united different races.
The Francois Pienaar/Kitch Christie’s triumph in 1995, on home soil, brought different races together after years of legislated separation.
The John Smit/Jake White’s 2007 victory reminded all South Africans that this is a nation that knows no limit to its potential.
The Erasmus/Kolisi’s triumph will bring hope where despair is starting to become a normality.
President Cyril Ramaphosa needs this victory more than Erasmus/Kolisi in his bid to revive unity among South Africans.
The victory for the Boks will definitely bring that spirit of oneness once more.
It will also assist Ramaphosa in reviving Mandela’s Rainbow Nation as he rebuilds the country following the disastrous Jacob Zuma’s years of attempt racial division project.
When the Kolisi/Erasmus project took off last year, England was their first victim and by the Gods of Mandela and Christie, Eddie Jones’ men will also be Erasmus’ last victim.
The statistics seem to favour the Boks going into this clash.
The last time South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis trophy, the Roses were on the losing side.
It is on this mental advantage that Erasmus and his boys should build going into this historic match.