When people greet Jean de Villiers these days, inquiries as to his health are genuine and, he joked this week, more important than the actual greeting. “People will say, ‘How’s your knee?’ and then say hello,” said De Villiers at a SuperSport lunch at the Johannesburg Country Club.
The knee is coming along nicely, says De Villiers. It feels like we read weekly updates on his knee in the media.
SuperSport have shot a documentary on his recovery. It may just be the most important body part in South Africa about now.
In the end, it wasn’t the greatest fight of the century. It might not even be the greatest fight of 2015, ending with no small manner of controversy, some posturing, a little humility and, from some of those who had spent thousands of dollars to be ringside, booing.
Floyd Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao on a unanimous decision. The two men made money, lots of money, which is the aim of prize fighting. No-one fights for the fun of it.
None of the booing at the MGM Grand came from Fikile Mbalula, the minister of sports and recreation, who bragged on Twitter that he was at the fight and the rest of us weren’t. So there. Ha. Bitches. Mbalula is quite taken with Mayweather, and brought his hero to South Africa last year to “reawaken the giant” that was boxing in this country. That uncomfortable rustling you hear is the giant turning over in its bed waiting for the Mayweather effect to kick in. The Money came to town and then left.
This will be a better week. This will be a week in which I will not nitpick and point out that which I believe to be exaggeration, spin doctoring or deflection.
I will not wander on to social media to have a laugh at Cricket South Africa and what I believe is the best bit of distraction ever conceived with one spelling “mistake”.
No. I think I shall let that little tale lie fallow for a while. There are many people who know what really happened on that night in Auckland last month. Some of them have spoken about it to others and those others have spoken to me and others. Some have denied anything of the like ever happened. It’s about reading between the lines and the refusal to revisit the night. Mike Horn did not want to talk to myself and EWN’s Jean Smyth about politics on that afternoon in Shanghai, and, yet, he did. I will freely admit I took the quotes out of context, but that does not make the quotes wrong.
Spelling mistakes are easy to make. Ask the poor buggers who have to sub this column and who will take the blame for anything that is wrong by the time it is published. Spelling “Africa” as “Arfica” takes a special kind of mistake, particularly if that mistake is in the title logo of the new tournament you have just announced.
The “r”, you might say, was taken out of context in Africa. Oh, how we laughed and pointed fingers at Circuit Sooth Arfica. How we giggled at their mistake, gloated over their foolishness and came up with more puns than the sub of this column may be able to read without bashing their head against a middle stump. How we reTweeted, Whatsapped, SMSed and BBMed the bejesus out of the joke, until, as a friend suggested, the slow realisation came that it may not be a joke at all.
“That’s the way to stop the media talking about the World Cup semi-final selection,” Whatsapped a friend, throwing me into an angry frenzy in which I kicked over chairs, a table and handed over the captaincy of this column to my fiancée before calming down and denying said friend had sent such a message at all.
Yesterday, Songezo Jim, a man who less than a decade ago could not ride a bike, took part in the Amstel Gold Race, one of the classics on the European calendar. This kid from Khayelitsha, riding for Team MTN Qhubeka powered by Samsung, was inspired by the Velokhaya riders in the township outside Cape Town while watching the Cape Town Cycle Tour years ago.
He is now competing on the World Tour against some of the best riders on the planet. The motto of his team is “Bicycles Change Lives”, a reference to the Qhubeka programme that aims to put bikes into communities that need them to better lives. Today, at Orlando High School, just behind the Orlando Stadium, Sipho Dubula, will be working his way to getting on a Qhubeka bike.
It is part of Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung’s commitment to fund 5000 bicycles for African students in 2015. Qhubeka is the arm of World Bicycle Relief, a global non-profit organisation “dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation”. They have handed over some 225000 bikes since they started in 2005.