The 2023 Rugby World Cup has such a powerful ability to unite the country that it could, in turn, reignite a patriotism that will benefit many other aspects of our country.
With the World Cup under way and green-and-gold fever sweeping the country, the Springboks are once again demonstrating the power of sport to unite South Africans, boost their confidence, and make them realise just what an exceptional place they live in.
Times like this, says Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt property group, often help us to step back and see South Africa from a different perspective, or as people elsewhere view the country.
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“It helps us remind ourselves with pride of everything that we have accomplished and can show off to the world, despite our current national problems.”
“Just for a start, South Africa is a functioning democracy, characterised by an elected government, organised opposition parties, an independent judiciary, freedom of speech and association, and protection of individual rights via an outstanding Constitution. We are also not in conflict or at war with any other country but, in fact, are helping to build new alliances of nations across Africa and around the world.”
The country also still has huge deposits of strategic minerals, a well-regulated, stable, and trusted banking and financial system, and world-class scientists and medical experts. In addition, Everitt says we have cultural diversity, spectacular scenery and wildlife, an inviting climate, and some of the best value-for-money real estate available anywhere.
“These are all factors that distinguish South Africa from dozens of other countries that are currently competing for scarce skills and investment in the chaotic, and often violent, post-pandemic global landscape.
“And on top of that, South Africa also has one additional, unassailable advantage: The best people in the world; friendly, funny, hospitable, creative, optimistic, and hugely entrepreneurial. They are also uniquely tolerant, determined, and resilient to a fault.”
As born-and-bred South Africans, we may not see anything unusual in the way we are, or in the way we unite to support the Springboks, for example, but he believes that we also “need to start appreciating how special that outlook on life appears to others, and how much it makes them want to be a part of our journey”.
Furthermore, our country is “far from alone” in experiencing problems such as power and water shortages, defective infrastructure, high inflation and interest rates, and endemic corruption. However, Everitt says: “We are one of very few countries with the will as well as the potential to address and fix these problems, while also emerging as a key strategic player in the creation of a new and more balanced world economy.”
This has been underlined in recent weeks, he says, by the African Union’s decision to accelerate the implementation of AfCFTA (the African Continent Free Trade Area), which will ultimately connect 1,3bn people across 55 countries with a combined GDP of $3,4 trillion (R64 trillion). South Africa has played a “pivotal role” in launching AfCFTA and is already established as one of the most important gateways to this huge market grouping.
“At the same time, international investors have noted the success of the recent BRICS conference held in South Africa, and the leading role the country played in the expansion of that group to include six new members – and boost its combined GDP to $30,75trillion (R581trillion).”
In short, he says, South Africa is “punching well above its weight” in the international area. In anticipation of an internal renaissance to follow, many foreign and expat retirees, families, business owners, and investors are already streaming into South Africa and buying homes or investing in commercial properties in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, and other business hubs as well as along the Atlantic Seaboard, and the Garden Route.
“They see that South Africa really has a great deal to recommend it, and astute local buyers will, I believe, shortly follow their lead in the major business centres – especially since it seems that interest rates have now stabilised and will most likely start to decline again next year.”
Following the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup win in 2019, Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, said: “Sport has the power to restore passion for one’s nation and invoke a sense of pride that can affect positive change within the country. A victory such as this can therefore work towards restoring confidence in the local market and attract the attention of foreign investors.”
When congratulating the team on their win that year, Prince Harry said: “I genuinely think that rugby has the ability to unite everyone around the world and I could not think of a nation that needs it more than you guys right now, so on that, well done.”