South Africa A forwards huddle before the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour rugby match. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
South Africa A forwards huddle before the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour rugby match. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

‘#StrongerTogether not just a hashtag’ – Springboks horrified by pain and suffering caused by violence and looting

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Jul 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The Springboks say they hope by doing their jobs – which is to do their best to win rugby matches – they can put smiles back on the faces of ordinary South Africans following the continued violence and looting in parts of the country.

The latest death toll following the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng stands at 117 after a week of anarchy across malls and shopping centres in particular in the two provinces.

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It has led to millions of rands of damage to infrastructure and stolen goods, and is likely to affect the jobs of thousands of workers.

Government has taken the drastic step of deploying 25 000 soldiers from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist the police to restore law and order in the affected areas.

In the meantime, the Springboks are in Cape Town preparing for their three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions. They played a warm-up match in the guise of a South Africa A side on Wednesday, where they managed to beat the Lions 17-13.

The SA A team are set to play another game on Saturday against the Bulls at Cape Town Stadium.

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On Friday, the Bok team released a statement in which they expressed their horror about the violent scenes in KZN and Gauteng, and how they want to bring back some positive vibes in society with their performances on the field.

Entitled ‘We share your pain, South Africa – Springboks’, the statement read as follows…

“We’re only a rugby team; we don’t have any real power or authority; there’s no reason why anyone should listen to us or follow what we say. We’re just ordinary South Africans like you. And, like you, we’re hurting.

“Like you, we’re horrified by the pain and suffering and loss of life that has happened.

“It shocks us to see the desperate measures that people have taken to protect their neighbourhoods, their property and their livelihoods.

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“But we acknowledge that as professional sportspeople, we speak from a position of privilege and have little first-hand experience of the poverty in which many of our fellow South Africans live their daily lives.

“But we do know that looting and violence and the burning of buildings will not improve the lives of anyone in the long term.

“As players, all we can do is our jobs – which is to do our best to win rugby matches in the hope of putting smiles on people’s faces, and proving along the way that we are stronger when we are together. It’s not just a hashtag, South Africa… we believe it to be true.

“We’re only a rugby team; made up of ordinary South Africans who love our country and all its people and want to see it prosper.

“But our country is bleeding. Let us start the healing by being stronger together.”

@AshfakMohamed

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