‘An in­spi­ra­tion, a uni­fier, wise, and a mas­sive gift...’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

im­pact on many peo­ple’s lives.

I’m happy in that he is at peace now, I have no doubt he’ll be look­ing down on South Africa and still tak­ing care of the coun­try.

He’s been in­cred­i­ble for the coun­try when it comes to sport. He played a huge role in that 1995 World Cup, and with all sport he h a s al­ways played a huge role.

He’s al­ways showed an in­ter­est in all sport, I don’t think peo­ple can quite touch and un­der­stand what a big role he played in get­ting the play­ers to play for the coun­try and then the times when he was at the ground, to play for him. Nel­son Man­dela has been an am­bas­sador for our na­tion for so many years... re­cu­per­at­ing our coun­try from what it was.

It was ex­cep­tional to see and ex­cep­tional to be a part of. I just think about the 1995 World Cup, how we as a na­tion came to­gether through sport, he was the one who in­spired us to come to­gether and sup­port the Spring­bok rugby team and win­ning that World Cup we saw how the na­tion came to­gether through his eyes; it was just amaz­ing. (for­mer SA bowler, cur­rent SA team bowl­ing coach) When we were play­ing against In­dia at the Wan­der­ers in 1993, what struck me was that he had time to speak to al­most ev­ery sin­gle player. When it got to my turn, he asked me what the Free State was like, and I was like, ‘you’re not sup­posed to know that’. It was ac­tu­ally quite scary how much he knew about ev­ery in­di­vid­ual in that team.

The speech he gave to us on 2003, when he came to our team room be­fore the (open­ing game of the 2003 World Cup) against the West Indies, it was noth­ing po­lit­i­cal, it was about how im­por­tant the legacy was that we were leav­ing be­hind as sport­ing peo­ple and how it brings peo­ple closer to­gether in South Africa.

The way he said it, the calm­ness, the au­thor­ity, the aura Nel­son Man­dela had – we had our fam­i­lies there, young kids who won’t re­mem­ber that day – noth­ing fired us up more to take on the West Indies. His hu­mil­ity, the peace that he brought about... (South African cricket coach) He was a mas­sive in­spi­ra­tion for the coun­try, he took over our coun­try at a mas­sive and im­por­tant stage of its de­vel­op­ment and did a mag­nif­i­cent job in unit­ing every­body, he’s a re­ally great icon, and ex­am­ple for ev­ery South African and per­son in the world.

That im­age of him hand­ing over the (1995) World Cup to the win­ning cap­tain is etched in ev­ery­one’s mem­ory, and that will al­ways have a very spe­cial place in ev­ery sportsper­son’s mem­ory in South Africa. Nel­son Man­dela is an icon, whether in sport or in life, he’ll be highly revered and highly re­spected around the world. He’s been a mas­sive gift to South Africa.


SPORTS TRIB­UTE: An im­age of Nel­son Man­dela is por­trayed on a TV screen in Ade­laide at the start of the sec­ond day’s play in the sec­ond Ashes Test yes­ter­day, as play­ers (inset) ob­serve a minute’s si­lence.

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