What if Boks' superstar status translates into real and meaningful partnerships?
President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Africa had an encouraging week. Hundreds of billions were committed at the second South Africa Investment Conference in Sandton. Though not all these will materialise, Ashish Thakkar and his Mara Group made good on their pledge at last year’s conference when they opened a smartphone factory in Durban two weeks ago.
The day before the conference kicked off, a R3.6-billion partnership with the Ford Motor Company was inaugurated in a special economic zone in Silverton, Tshwane. A thousand jobs here, two thousand there will eventually help the South African economy crawl out of its sinkhole.
We need a morale booster, anything to keep our people going and trying daily to change their fortunes. Which is why the Springbok World Cup victory must be celebrated by all.
Those who see nothing worthy of a celebration, need to keep quiet for now. This is not to silence anyone, but a plea to fellow South Africans to ride the current sentiment and positive emotion which can drive people better and farther than logic.
South Africans of all races watching the game or listening to radio commentary rejoiced when the final whistle blew. The William Webb Ellis trophy is not necessarily going to create jobs or fix Eskom. It will not stop the abuse of women and children or the racism. What it does, however, is present a precious shot at resetting our national mood button to relaunch.
In 1995, we expected Madiba Magic to solve all our problems. Playing down the value of what Siya Kolisi and his crew accomplished in Japan is grinchy. It dampens the national spirit - which could be all we need to change our attitude by reminding one another that we are truly “stronger together” not apart.
Kolisi grew up poor in Zwide. Poverty in his childhood tempted him to go and steal to quell his hunger. Rugby offered him an escape; neither a job nor a plate of food, but a reason to believe. That belief and athletic ability landed him a spot at Grey High, a public school in Port Elizabeth. His teammate, Makazole Mapimpi, scored the first World Cup final try by any Springbok.
What if our Springbok World Cup glory earns Kolisi and Kolbe the gravitas to raise sponsorships for more tournaments in their underprivileged communities to groom more like Lukhanyo Am, Trevor Nyakane and Chester Williams?
What if they get fat contracts, make enough money and end up building schools for the poor? What if their superstar status translates into partnerships to build better rugby grounds in schools?
Would that not be good for the economy and change the fortunes of poor South Africans? There is more to sport than recreation.
One Kolisi, one Rassie Erasmus or one Ford or Mara Phones factory at a time, we are getting there. Let us applaud our achievements. South Africa has many problems; let negaholism not be one of them.
* Victor Kgomoeswana is author of Africa is Open for Business, media commentator and public speaker on African business affairs.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.