Cape Town - With many on social media pleading for the president to give South Africans a day off due to the stress-inducing Springboks’ game against France on Sunday evening, the head of state addressed them directly on Monday morning.
Sunday evening’s match saw the Springboks narrowly clinch victory as they came from behind to beat France 29-28, and booked a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
While the victory was obviously due to the team’s blood, sweat and tears, it did at least provide social media with comedic fodder.
South Africa trailed France 22-19 at half-time, and this left many biting their nails. The tension of the match led many to summon the spirit of Madiba to intervene and aid the Bokke to victory.
the way this match can ruin our weeks? yoh Madiba silwele 😭— 🌙 (@_Nwai) October 15, 2023
I CALL UPON THE SPIRIT OF MANDELA RABAKASHANDA 😭— Janine (@janine_j) October 15, 2023
WAKE MANDELA UP RIGHT NOW!— t. (@thandoau) October 15, 2023
haibo, Madiba? Tata? 😭 pic.twitter.com/5HSRoqJ3vp— dinaledi aligning (@____justsihle) October 15, 2023
At a dinner party in Germany while the rugby is playing and someone just asked “why are you looking at pictures of Mandela?”— Jamie (@SydneyVonVino) October 15, 2023
Thankfully, it all turned out well in the end for South Africa, and many then made sure to thank Madiba for his magic in helping the boks win the game.
Once that was settled, calls quickly pivoted to having Monday being declared a public holiday.
Dear @CyrilRamaphosa— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) October 13, 2023
Sir, workers will not be working on Monday.
Regardless of the outcome of Sundays game at 9 PM SAT, some of us have not put in a days leave.
Productivity will be zero, win or lose.
Do the right thing. Public holiday us now.
With anticipatory thanks
1 point?! No ways guys. Can the president call an URGENT press conference to declare tomorrow a public holiday?— Janine (@janine_j) October 15, 2023
Public holiday nyana @CyrilRamaphosa — Titty Mboweni* (@PearlPillay) October 15, 2023
Cyril still hasn’t announced a public holiday tomorrow?— FPL Tams (@tamlynsingh) October 15, 2023
What’s taking him so long? pic.twitter.com/OhjRvYtbi4
We need a public holiday for our Blood pressure— VUSTAFA (@VUSTAFA) October 15, 2023
Folks. Why is today not a public holiday, though? I know, economy productivity etc, but we’ve been through things as a nation.— Jeremy Loops (@JeremyLoops) October 16, 2023
If ever there was a time for a ‘positive’ state of emergency, this is it. #Springboks
The plea did not fall on deaf ears. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who happened to be delivering the keynote address for the South Africa Green Hydrogen Summit (SAGHS) used the moment to address the calls.
While he apologised for not being able to make it to the summit in-person at Century City in Cape Town, he joked that it was not due to the Springboks game.
“I am sorry that I am unable to be there in person, it isn’t as much to do with your summit competing with the Springboks victory last night. I am where I am, and I am sorry about that.
“I spent the better part of the morning trying to speak to (French) President Emmanuel Macron just to commiserate, but we have not been able to talk, and we talk often about the highs and the lows of both our countries. I’m sure that we will be able to talk later.
“But South Africans are revelling in this incredible success that our boys have achieved in Paris. Many of them felt that we should declare today as a public holiday, and I declined, and I said that we will only consider that when we win the final - at which I will personally be present.”
Prior to the game, the president spoke with the Bok coach Jacques Nienaber on the phone, where he said he looked forward to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup at the final.