The Springbok squad selected for the Rugby World Cup. There is something sad and illogical about the decision by FF+ to take its concerns about the make-up of the Springboks to England, says the writer. Photo: Rogan Ward
The Springbok squad selected for the Rugby World Cup. There is something sad and illogical about the decision by FF+ to take its concerns about the make-up of the Springboks to England, says the writer. Photo: Rogan Ward

FF+ Bok stunt leaves a bitter taste

By Jovial Rantao Time of article published Sep 6, 2015

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The move by the FF+ is an insult to our government as well as the very people the party claims to represent, says Jovial Rantao.

Johannesburg - There is something sad and illogical about the decision by a South African political party to take its concerns about the make-up of the Springboks – our national rugby team – to England.

The move by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) is not only ill-advised but leaves a bitter taste on the proverbial tongue.

While the FF+, not known for its liberal views on and of life, have tried to mask their bad move by claiming their petition was delivered to England because they were the host of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the irony and political insensitivity is inescapable.

The silent meaning of the move by the FF+ is designed to show their non-recognition of the government of South Africa, led by the ANC. This calculated step is tailor-made to embarrass the governing party, a strategy that shouldn’t surprise us because that is what opposition political parties owe their existence to. They rise day in and day out with one aim in mind – to show that the government of the day is incapable.

However, what is deeply sad about the move is that it has ignored the painful history of South Africa, the many wars our people, black and white, fought against the English and all those who sought to colonise us.

The FF+ move says to all of us that they do not recognise the current government or don’t believe they will get the outcome they desire from it and so they resorted to a “higher” authority – the former colonial rulers of our country.

Their move is not only insensitive but constitutes an insult to the very people who the FF+ claims to represent. Many Afrikaners – men and women – died and many more were displaced and tortured in the many battles against those who sought to colonise this country and steal our land as well as the minerals under it.

How is it possible, I ask with tears in my eyes, that a political party formed by the descendants of Paul Kruger, Piet Joubert and MW Pretorius can stoop to the level where they involve themselves in actions that would insult the legacy of their own leaders?

South Africa shares this sad and hurtful history with the rest of Africa. Our continent bears scars that are evidence of the many wars, fought over the decades, in which Africans were fighting – tooth and nail – to stop their motherland being carved up by European colonisers.

This is why the FF+ move was painfully ill-advised and morally and politically insensitive.

Can you imagine a political party in the Democratic Republic of Congo taking its complaint about the composition of its national soccer team to Brussels?

Or, better still, a political formation in our neighbouring country Mozambique marching to Lisbon, Portugal, to express their unhappiness about something?

What would be the response of Zimbabweans, including those who do not love President Robert Mugabe, if anyone in that country took their beef with the government to England?

The FF+, like many of us, have the right to debate the selection of national sports teams.

They also have the right to take any action to highlight their views about transformation in sports.

However, in doing this, we have to keep, at the back of our minds, lessons from our history.

If we don’t, some of our moves will explode in our faces, as this ill-advised stunt has on the FF+.

When we take actions to shape our future, we must always gaze back at our history and pick up important lessons.

* Jovial Rantao is editor of the African Independent newspaper, published each week on Fridays.

The Sunday Independent

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