WATCH: Springboks victory should drive 'transformational change' - Bryan Habana
Cape Town - South Africa is riding the crest of a wave.
Sho Madjozi flipped over meeting John Cena, the Ndlovu Youth Choir made the country proud on US television, South Africa won the African Netball Championships, young karateka picked up medals at various global events, and of course, the Springboks secured their third Webb Ellis trophy after they dismantled England in the final of the Rugby World Cup.
While these moments of euphoria are great distractions, there still are major challenges facing the country. But there's nothing wrong with using these wins as a springboard for tackling the country's challenges, according to 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana.
Habana was the MC at the AfricaCom 2019 Awards Gala. AfricaCom brings together the leading tech businesses and organisations from around the continent and the world, and is also host to the Global 4IR Summit and AfricaTech summit.
"There are different elements of crises in South Africa at the moment, I mean I recently entered the work environment after retiring (from rugby) last year, and South Africa's unemployment rate, statistically is at 29.odd per cent, but realistically it's more like 32, 34 per cent, which is a massive backlog to start with," Habana told African News Agency.
"If we look at education and our infrastructural development, we look at things like our state-owned entities and all these things that are pulling people downwards, people worried about citizenship by investment opportunities, getting out of South Africa, so, trying to keep all that IP (intellectual property) in South Africa first and foremost, but then we look at these various moments, and incidents, that cause this sense of euphoria...
"It shows how people in South Africa can knuckle down, and work together towards a common goal, it shows us what can be achieved, you look at AfricaCom, you look at the Springboks winning the World Cup... But in South Africa, for a lot of our population, we're still a Third World country, with a lot of elements that need to be righted, so, it is great.
"And one would hope that stemming from these epic moments of victory, these epic moments of euphoria, these moments of transformational change, that hopefully, we as South Africa, and Africa, can see what potential we do have," he said.
Habana said the legacy of South Africa's apartheid past still haunts the country, but the Springboks' victory, among other successes, has inspired the country.
"We do have a unique history that no other country has to deal with, but we can see as South Africa, under our first African, black captain, Siya Kolisi, and his new team of heroes can do something absolutely incredible, unite a nation, transform a nation, and hopefully, transform minds as well is hopefully something we as a people can take to heart," he said.
"We tend to very quickly veer towards the hate element of life, veer towards the differences that set us apart, and like I say, we do understand that those differences will always be there, but we do have a unique history and certain elements in our population weren't always afforded opportunities, but over and above that there definitely are positives that we are seeing...
"We've got to use those positives to spark change, use that to spark transformational ideology change. We tend to get stuck in the past, and we need to look forward more than we look back. So hopefully those elements can be that foundation, can be that starting point, and push us on to bigger and greater things."
ANA+ (African News Agency)@AfriNewsAgency