THE SCENES of joy resonating around South Africa this week after the Springboks’ watershed Rugby World Cup final on Saturday are as real and as honest as anything you can ever hope to see in this country.
For the first time we don’t just have champions to celebrate, we have champions who know all too well the challenges they themselves have had to overcome to get to where they are, but who have located their own battles within the framework of the challenges that the vast majority of the people who live in this country faces.
Very few sports stars ever do that and for Captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus to have made it front of centre of everything they have said in the wake of their triumph is a measure of the leaders that they are.
We do have many challenges in our country, the biggest one being to ensure that we start to close the gap of inequality that the Gini co-efficient reminds us is among the worst in the world. We have to do so in the knowledge that no single group; whether based on class, creed or colour, can do it on their own.
The Boks went to Japan on the banner #StrongerTogether. They’ve come back with the William Webb Ellis trophy as proof of just what one team can do if they believe in their purpose and this mission. A cup won’t solve our problems, but it may just inspire the rest of us to try, to recalibrate our own sense of purpose and to reach out to one another and make that difference – together.
South Africa has already been gifted three opportunities to do just that: in 1994 with the dawn of the Rainbow Nation, again in 2010 with our hosting of the soccer world cup and now in 2019 with this victory.
This might be our last opportunity. We dare not ignore it. Let it power us into action.
Dean and Director; Henley Business School Africa
Wednesday 6 November, 2019