When the Springboks lost to Australia in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday I immediately expected the armchair naysayers and racists would blame the coloured coach.
I was mostly right.
Coach Peter de Villiers then quit at the post-match press conference and I thought he jumped the gun. Apparently so did he.
Yesterday he explained that when he said he was going he did not mean he was going.
His forked-tongue explanation went a little something like this :0)
"I knew this day would come and I would go but I have a four year contract so I am not going until the time for me to go has come and that time has come but not yet and that is why I will still be around till December because that is when I said I would resign but it won't be a resignation since my contract will be up and I will be actually unemployed. I never said I was resigning they put words in my hands."I watch rugby sometimes and would have liked to see the Boks win but truth is I did not even get up early enough to see more than 20 minutes of the match.
Losing to Australia sucked. Any other team but the Wallabies would have been less distressing. Sorry Tony :0)
So there I was at Pick & Pay yesterday and I said to my favorite cashier who just happens to be coloured and an All Black supporter that it sucked that the Boks lost.
Her reply went a lot like this:
"They sent a bunch of old men over there to play. They had more injuries than anything else. But I don't care because I don't support them. I am an All Black fan and they gonna win now for sure ... you know we coloureds don't support the Springboks."I smiled and thought about her words as I headed to the car-park. They are political and a stand even now that real black/African folks wear the green and gold and front like they have been rugby fans for years even before Jan van Riebeck discovered them and raped their mamas.
I remember when I was very young my grandfather took me to watch a match between a local rugby club and the visiting British Lions. Because we were not white we were tucked into a small corner reserved for non-whites.
From that vantage point we saw very little but I knew that we did not belong. So, like many of the so called non-white fans we cheered for the British Lions - I am aware of the racist irony ... geez ;0)
It was during those times that coloured folks and other 'non-whites' started to support any foreign team playing against the Springboks - and the All Blacks were a misplaced favorite.
Today that politics continues but it may not be so politically convincing anymore.
I asked one All Black supporter why he won't support the Boks and he said because the team is still a racist one despite the coloured coach and the players of color.
I tried to argue that New Zealand is hardly a non-racial meritocracy and that many of those clowns doing the Haka are not even Maori. "Is this not racist appropriation?" I asked.
"Yeah but they better than the racist crap that goes on here. The boere think the Springboks are their God-given right and that is why I will never support them or wear a green and gold rugby jersey," he replied defiantly.
Our wounds run deep. And I must admit that I shake my head in disbelief when I see black folk proudly wearing Springbok colors - I have not set aside the historical baggage that had me and my grandfather standing in a corner under 90 degree heat for 80 minutes while whites sat on shaded stands.
Still I would not support the All Blacks because they are better in race terms. They are not.
The same contrived and racist debates over the place of blacks in rugby are divisively present there as they are here (and in Australia too).
I would rather have Samoa or Tonga win the 2011 Rugby World Cup but that ship has sailed.
Slice it anyway you like, our apartheid wounds run deep. Still.
Oh before I go there are a couple of real Div quotes I just find amazing:
"There is little difference between winning and losing except you feel better after winning." (Is the brother Taoist? :0)
"I will not change my style. If I change my style I will change Peter de Villiers and then I would have to tell God that he made a mistake when he made me.See more Div gems here.