Playing on Madiba’s team
AAfricans. MONG the many legacies of Nelson Mandela is sport as a unifying force. The triumphal images of the Springboks in 1995 and Bafana Bafana in 1996 were seared into the psyche of our nation as the term “Madiba Magic” took root.
In a country still battling to overcome the his- toric imbalances wrought by colonial and apartheid legislation, sport is one of the true nation-builders and cementers of our young democracy.
Mandela opened the doors to international par- ticipation and made us believe in ourselves and our ability to go toe-to-toe with the world’s best.
On Thursday, our country – and indeed Africa – could again stand tall as one of our own, Daryl Impey, took ownership of the fabled yellow jersey in the world’s greatest cycling race, the Tour de France.
And this week Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula vowed that the legacy of Mandela would never die as he announced a Sports Day in honour of the global hero.
“As we continue to soldier on to celebrate his legacy, these are the things he lives for, like the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Man- dela Children’s Hospital,” Mbalula said at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Sports Day initiative. “He did not do those things for himself, he did them to make a difference for others and that is what we must carry on as a people.”
The Springboks and Bafana Bafana will play international matches against Argentina and Burki- na Faso at FNB Stadium on August 17 – Nelson Mandela Sports Day – with proceeds going to the children’s hospital that bears his name.
It is apt that, as the former statesman lies fighting for his life in hospital, we honour him through our efforts in the world’s sporting arenas and in our everyday lives as proud South