Former political prisoner Itumeleng Makwela speaks to the Springboks about life on Robben Island. Photo: @Springboks via Twitter

CAPE TOWN – The Springboks will dedicate Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Port Elizabeth to the memory of Nelson Mandela.

As part of their role in the country’s #Mandela100 celebrations, the Boks visited Robben Island in June, where they were addressed by former inmate Itumeleng Makwela about life on the little piece of land outside Cape Town.

On Thursday, SA Rugby posted the video of the team’s visit to Robben Island on their social media channels, stating: “The Test match in Port Elizabeth between South Africa and Australia on Saturday will be dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela, as part of the former State President’s 100-year celebrations.

“In preparation for the special event, the Springboks decided to visit Robben Island in Cape Town, where Madiba had spent 18 years of his 27-year incarceration.

“Spectators attending Saturday’s Test are encouraged to take their seats by 4pm to witness a special ceremony as part of the centenary celebrations.”

Following the team’s visit, captain Siya Kolisi said: “It was very inspiring and humbling to listen to the story of Mr Mandela and his fellow political prisoners. As a group, we felt very privileged to have made the journey across to Robben Island.”

The Boks have gotten into the spirit of the Madiba Centenary in Port Elizabeth this week, and will display a painting of Mandela – done by pupils at Emsengeni Primary, one of Kolisi’s former junior schools – in their change room in Saturday.

“The activities were not distracting at all – in fact, it served as a motivating factor for us if you just look at how much this Test and the occasion mean for the city and the Springbok supporters,” Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said.

 

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