Unity, Blue, Ubuntu  

Posted by Smoke

In South Africa we have two major sports codes. Soccer (football for non South Africans) and Rugby union, or just plain rugby. Soccer is traditionally a black sport and finds its home grounds in places such as Mmamelodi and SOWETO which is the biggest location in our country. Professional Soccer matches are often played on Rugby fields such as Loftus and Ellis Park.

Rugby on the other hand is mostly a white sport and has never been seen played professionally on any Soccer field such as Orlando Stadium.... until two weeks ago.

2010 is a spectacular year for South Africa, as we are hosting the FIFA Football World cup, the first for the continent. As this is such a huge event, nine new stadiums has been built to accommodate the matches, and others has been upgraded. Because of this, Some Rugby Stadiums will be used for the World cup, one of which is Loftus Versfeldt in Pretoria. Loftus is home to the Blue Bulls franchise which is the Provincial side "the Blue Bulls" and the Super 14 side "The Vodacom Bulls".

For those who don't know, the Super 14 is an international contest between Provincial teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. And from next year it will be Known as the Super 15, as a team from Argentina will also compete.

Now back to the matter. As Loftus is one of the World Cup venues, The Bulls had two years ago agreed that if it should happen that they had a Home semi final and or home final this year, they would use another stadium as home base, as the dates would conflict with the handing over of Loftus to FIFA. Many different venues were scouted but for some reason one and only one made perfect sense. ORLANDO Stadium.. Home to local Soccer Powerhouse, Orlando Pirates.

Orlando Stadium is located smack in the middle of Soweto and about a Kilometer down the road from Soccer City, Bafana Bafana (South African National Soccer team) home ground. As the Bulls had secured a home semi final, Afrikanerdom was heading to Valakazi street Soweto.

Please note, the greater part of Bulls supporters are white Afrikaans males, the same guys whose fathers and grandfathers created Apartheid and places like Soweto and some of these guys last set foot in this township armed with assault rifles and in military vehicles. The truth is 85% of white South Africans feel that they will be

a. Robbed
b. Raped
c. Murdered
or
d. All of the above
if they set foot in Soweto.

So amazed was the country when on semi final Saturday none of this happened, in fact the Monday newspapers were stacked with photos of blue clad whites drinking beer in tin shacks along with their black brothers, side by side. I was elated to see it as I then thought that this is the real beginning of the change.

And low and behold, the next week was the final, again at Orlando, and Bulls supporters was welcomed by the locals like old friends. And Bulls were grateful to be allowed to return.

This is just the beginning of a great wave, set in motion in 1995 by Nelson Mandela, as can be seen in the movie INVICTUS.

Today I am not just a proud Bulls fan, but a Proud South African

This entry was posted on Monday, May 31, 2010 at 8:25 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

4 comments

Oh, man, this is uplifting! Let's hope it continues and gets stronger!

June 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

It is unbelievable. I takes some time, but change is enevetable

June 3, 2010 at 9:07 PM

I felt like crying when my daughter told me how the Sowetans welcomed the rugby spectators. They were actually coming out of their houses and lining the streets to welcome the buses loaded with their one time oppressors! So many South Africans refuse to believe that we can all live together peacefully that we truly need more experiences like this. Just maybe some of the mistrust and fear will then be wiped out.

June 5, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Dis so goed om te hoor!

June 21, 2010 at 10:02 PM

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