Bah humbug to the Rugby World Cup, but the green and gold is goddamnawful
- Carien du Plessis
- 22 Sep 2011 07:48 (South Africa)
Try as I might, I can’t get over it. The mismatch of old-fashioned colours offends the crap out of the tiny bit of fashion sensibility I happen to have, in roughly the same measure as the shrill of coach Peter Div’s voice insults the ears.
Actually the jersey offends me in more than just looks. It reminds me of the bad old days, and, more recently, of self-important boorish South Africans ridiculously herded in out-of-place Springbok bars in London where many whine about the crime back home.
Yes, I know it’s been 17 years since the end of apartheid, and I know even Saint Mandela wore the stupid piece of rag back in 1995, but it’s still hideous.
It reminds me of the dumbest common denominators originating from places like Boksburg, Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Stellenbosch.
We live in a democracy now. I’m allowed not to like rugby jerseys. I may even despise the sport itself. Perhaps herein lies the rub.
See, it wasn’t always like this. Like any normal white Afrikaans kid undergoing a Christelik-Nasionale Onderwys (Christian National Education) in the 1980s, I listened to Leon Schuster singing about rugby and the army. I knew who Naas Botha was. I checked out middle-page Huisgenoot posters of Bok heroes and tried to figure out why they were regarded as handsome (we termed good lookers “smart”).
When my hormones became somewhat tjatjarag and I entered high school aged 12, I even endured a match or two when this guy I considered handsome was playing. Nevermind that the fancy was unrequited. At least he threw me some crumbs by acknowledging my existence, especially since I tactically befriended his sister. Fortunately she was a tomboy like me, so it wasn’t an entirely fruitless exercise.
(A few years later, I heard that he went on to play for the Boks, but by then I considered big brained men sexier than thick necked thugs.)
Soon after, I lost interest in the sport, and not because some of its players crushed my teenage ego. Rather, it had to do with the unfair status advantage it enjoyed by virtue of having been dominated by white men (in the mainstream, at least). Rugby hooligans with their cauliflower ears and over-inflated sense of self-importance were fussed over a whole lot more than, say, well-shaped, more civilised netball stars – no matter how high we could jump, how quick we could dodge, or how well we could shoot goals.
Hockey and soccer players were pretty much afforded the same mainstream neglect.
For a girl to be noticed in rugby, you needed to have tits, ass and pom-poms, and you had to know what to do with these – next to the field. Your sporty, competitive skills that far transcended those of the scrum-and-tackle brigade, didn’t have the same currency.
Lately I noticed an ad related to the Rugby World Cup (I find these difficult to watch, so I’m vague on the detail) with a camera angle that more or less goes up the thin, skimpily-clad ass of some blonde, who, in a madam-like manner, directs a row of rather ordinary-looking domestic worker-like black women, to cheer with pom-poms. Someone, please tell me it’s meant ironically. Ja?
And then there is this patronising skit about the Springbok jive. If meant non-ironically, it is presumably meant to tell black people that the sport is multi, even non-racial. Yes, I know rugby is big amongst black communities too, like in the Eastern Cape. Some of my best black friends still hang around rugby fields on Saturdays. But all of this isn’t reflected in the national discourse around the sport.
Even Sports Minister Fikile “Moer Hulle” Mbalula switches to Afrikaans when he goes about his rugby business, while the racial composition of our team in New Zealand still pretty much looks more like a DA fundraising dinner than, say, a Bafana Bafana selection.
In theory I like what rugby does, much as I liked what the Soccer World Cup did for us in 2010. It’s a tool of social cohesion, and I’m pretty much the patriot. I vote more regularly than I go to church and I generally stick to the current speed limit. I can even blow a vuvuzela so that it makes a proper sound.
Two or three years ago I gave rugby a try again. A friend invited me to his home to watch the Springboks play. Because he promised some vintage Kanonkop, good company and because he was ex-PAC (and black, of course), I thought it wouldn’t be that bad. This was a chance for some rugby redemption.
Just as well I took my knitting, because ten minutes into the game I was flinching. The meat machines were bleeding and shoving. Not pretty.
Eventually the kindly Meneer van Heerden spotted my disinterest from across the room, identified fully with it, and we spent the rest of the time nerdishly talking movies and books by the kitchen counter. I haven’t been invited back for a game since.
So please don’t expect me in the next month or so to look at you if you’re wearing the jersey. It’ll just hurt my eyes. These garments don’t seem to fit properly on the bodies of mere mortals anyway. They’re always too tight around the beer belly, or where there’s no beer belly, there’s too much jersey. Same applies to tits.
True, I very unpatriotically also didn’t purchase a canary yellow Bafana Bafana top last year (blond hair and yellow don’t match, but I’m pan-African and my complexion and Super Eagles green are a perfect fit), but at least I could face the wearers and I could watch the games. Sexism might be rife in soccer, but at least it lacks the self-entitlement and arrogance that rugby stinks of, and it’s also played by girls. Plus, soccer players actually have butts and legs that are like candy on the eye.
When it comes to nation-building, a Springbok jersey is to me what fidelity is to Steve Hofmeyer, or what Christmas is to Scrooge. Arrestably, impossibly repulsive, really. DM
- Malema wants rights organisations to protect his human rights, swoop on Hawks
- Ten tips for a budding politician philanderer and his squeeze
- Malema talks change and walks war with Zuma
- Government surprises by scrapping private prisons
- Gatekeepers to blackness should contemplate the Camembert
- Mazibuko topples Trollip as DA parliamentary leader
- Malema hearing resumes as youth get fired up for march
- Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, the morning after
- While Zuma gets on with real business, Malema whines about planned march
- Malema drums up support ahead of economic freedom march
- Public Works PR crash and minister Gwen blames bladdie officials again
- Cosatu's conundrum - to march with Malema or to leave a vacuum
- Zuma's staying power (and office) is costing taxpayers millions
- Fight uncertainty with uncertainty, and avoid being flavour of the month
- DA plot thickens as more endorsements for caucus leaders trickle in
- ANC slams Dalai Lama court drama
- ANC Youth hits back at Blade
- Cele's friendliest of warnings to journalists reporting his departure
- ANC pushes on with Malema hearing, all in good time for the Youth League
- Madonsela's riveting report: Shiceka wasted our money on luxury. And he lied.
- Parliament to probe R14 million People's Assembly
- Blade Nzimande calls DA anti-toll campaign a tea party, while he too hates the tolls
- DA debates its rules as Mazibuko's campaign goes out there
- JujuTube for economic freedom in our lifetime
- Qwelane will have to explain why gay is not OK
- Parliament's chief talker quits quietly
- As a total breakdown of NYDA's kiss fest spending is published, outrage turns to anger
- South Africa, the ANC and this point in space/Dalai/Lama/time/continuum
- Malema gets hospital-sized man-flu on the eve of his disciplinary
- Parliament and media at each others' throats again
- Gwen's woes mount as Auditor-General details Public Works shambles
- ANC conference season upon us again
- Young Lions embark on a power strip show in provinces
- Bizos comes up for the courts
- Zuma spy tape drama playing again
- DA young gun Mazibuko ready to fire first salvo in mid-term caucus elections
- Will it be home, sweet, busy home for Zuma?
- One small step for Daso, one young leap for the DA
- Zuma to Cele: Tell me why you shouldn't leave
- As Mantashe warns of implosions, Youth League plans revolt in October
- Bah humbug to the Rugby World Cup, but the green and gold is goddamnawful
- Dubula continua: ANC asks to appeal That Judgment
- Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde courts cancellation of police deals
- ANC MPs to rethink Secrecy Bill
- Zuma praised as Ngcobo tipped to investigate arms deal
- DA quietly tasting the bittersweet fruits of success
- Silence in the spook house: DA wants intelligence watchdog to take a peek
- Mogoeng: Protecting judiciary not an overnight project
- Bad judgement made me think Malema could be right
- Digital grapevine rumours on Madiba died a quiet death
- Spy wars, episode two: Njenje to shed light on "resignation"
- Malema's disciplinary is likely to be a slow, long, drawn-out affair
- Crimes, damned crimes and their statistics
- Mogoeng: How to make a revolution with what's coming
- Mogoeng's appointment likely to steam ahead
- Tokyo ropes in Winnie to clean up the toilet mess
- Mogoeng must thank the Lord - and Malema
- DA ropes in younger Mbeki on economic freedom
- Secrecy Bill could be first big one for Mogoeng
- Youth League to party even as its world is ending
- Aluta continua for Malema as his charges stand
- Good call, bad call, or better to venture no call at all?
- Malema hearing takes a breather
- Luthuli House changes its mind about Luthuli House
- Violence Inc: Luthuli House scenes a bitter taste of Polokwane fruits
- Malema hearing: League's hands-off approach fails
- ANC's Malema dilemma: Damned if they don't do it right
- Malema's pre-disciplinary presser: the ANC can't touch this
- Power to the tweeple as DA hosts another Twitter Town Hall meeting
- Disciplinary action: Malema prays for divine intervention
- Sticks and stones may break Malema's bones... but maybe not
- Five percent payrise for all the president's men
- Things the Roman Emperor taught us about roller coaster rides
- Land reform green paper out, at last. Almost.
- Young lions regroup as disciplinary charges notch up
- Full house for ANC Youth League as four more officials charged
- ANC NEC squashes Save Juju campaign
- ANC shoots from its branches as party structures called into line
- Malema's disciplinary: Not everyone in the League standing by their man
- DA puts out race fires claims
- Malema and the Disciplinary Committee: A Rough Guide
- Double toil and trouble for Malema - and deja vu as he is charged again
- Be the change you want to see - join the ANC
- If you can’t beat them, join them and tip the scales
- Young Lions meow as ANC clears its throat
- Municipal union bargains on bigger numbers
- Chief Justice controversy: Why did Sisi Khampepe say no to Jacob Zuma?
- Young Reds want to probe Malema (while he's down)
- No-show Gwen raises ire of MPs and protector
- Sowetan sies no wrong in "public interest" porn-like pic
- New Chief Justice Mogoeng, the answer to Zuma's judicial prayers
- Van der Vyver wins civil claim, but would the police ever pay?
- Decision time: ANC to press on with Malema charges
- Outgoing Ngcobo may be flush over toilet privacy, but jury still out over a successor
- A brief look: Municipal workers rubbish fears of lawlessness during today's strike
- Malema charging up for another long week in politics
- Friends are few, and the Youth League apologises
- Fires rage in Parliament over Public Protector's report
- Even bright academics can be sheep crossdressed as wolves
- For taxis, the Gauteng roads toll bells ring no more
- Operation historic healthcare one step closer, but figures still scanty
- Solidarity whenever: Unions struggle to find unity
- Will health tax cost us an arm and a leg?
- Shiceka's ready to roll, but does he still rock Zuma's world?
- Zuma promises to improve hardships of being a woman
- Analysis: How do you solve a problem like Malema?
- Youth League lives to die another day, maybe
- A brief look: Unbridled joy as Zuma addresses Khoi-San
- A brief look: Tannie Evita and the Tea Lady
- Malema and his troops set for a bladdie Monday
- After Malema's assassination plan claims, now Numsa joins the list
- Stand by your woman, man
- Malema to students: You are a generation of economic freedom fighters
- No love lost as NYDA's kissing fest report finally comes out
- Women's Month has ANC petticoats showing again
- Miyeni affair: Text, mines & videotape
- ANC's Young Lions defiant on Botswana, choose more enemies to fight
- Miyeni affair - the morning after
- ANC interrupts Youth League's Botswana regime change dreams
- Youth League's message to the nation: Malema can't be bought for R200,000