GWIJO SQUAD IS CHANG­ING THE GAME

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - LUNGANI ZAMA lungani.zama@inl.co.za

Ahead of the Spring­boks’ open­ing in­ter­na­tional of the 2018 sea­son at El­lis Park, there was a mo­men­tous gath­er­ing of mates in Jo­han­nes­burg, all there to wit­ness what they dubbed “Siya Kolisi Day”.

It was the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the first, black Bok skip­per and, with it, the eman­ci­pa­tion of a mil­lion voices.

Those voices ex­press them­selves in the form of AmaG­wijo, an end­less playlist of cul­tural and cere­bral hymns.

They haven’t just sprouted up be­cause there is now a black leader. Far from it. These songs, amag­wijo, have been an in­te­gral part of Xhosa cul­ture for gen­er­a­tions.

They sing, and beau­ti­fully so.

They sing when they are happy, and the rhythm has gusto. They sing when times are tough, and the songs res­onate with a touch of melan­chony.

They sing, and the emer­gence of the Gwijo Squad, is in­tent on turn­ing that ‘they’ into ‘we’.

Their gath­er­ing from El­lis Park has grown louder by the voice, and swelled by num­ber. At Lof­tus yes­ter­day, they mobbed a sec­tion of the sta­dium, ex­pro­pri­at­ing a patch of Lof­tus, their pres­ence loud and in­fin­itely proud.

And, let’s be clear. They, and any other Bok fan roused by this lat­est squad, are not there to just sup­port cer­tain mem­bers in the team.

Their eyes welled up at Pi­eter-Steph du Toit’s blub­ber in Welling­ton. They have roared in burst­ing pride when Faf De Klerk or Ch­es­lin Kolbe throw them­selves at hulks twice their size.

And, of course, they thun­dered their ap­proval when Aphiwe Dyan­tyi pulls out his Wakanda cel­e­bra­tion.

They are part of an in­creas­ingly di­verse Bok mob, and the team and SARU have em­braced their unique ‘gees’.

Their gospel is now be­ing shared around the world, and draw­ing more and more lo­cals - of all races to­wards them.

Their con­stant cho­rus harks back to school­boy rugby, and it’s tra­di­tion of war cries. There is a trib­al­ism there, but it is not an ex­clu­sively Xhosa clique.

Ev­ery­one is wel­come. Wozani, nonke

Just bring your most pa­tri­otic voices. The fu­ture is here, and it’s all colours of the rain­bow na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.