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STRONGER TOGETHER

Don’t reserve your passion for South Africa for when we’re playing rugby

Don’t reserve your passion for South Africa for when we’re playing rugby
Springbok players –including Faf de Klerk, Makazole Mapimpi and Tendai Mtawarira in the foreground – celebrate after winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match against England in Japan. (Photo: Juan Jose Gasparini / Gallo Images)

Our nation must face its brokenness and come together with the same level of determination and support that we give to our national rugby team. We need to get behind those who are deciding that not only are they “in” but they’re going to help mend what is broken.

The Rugby World Cup kicked off in France over the weekend. The excitement throughout South Africa is palpable. It gave us here at Daily Maverick HQ some nostalgia for the last World Cup when Rassie Erasmus (all hail) said this:

“In South Africa, pressure is not having a job. Pressure is one of your close relatives being murdered… rugby shouldn’t be something that creates pressure on you. Rugby should be something that creates hope… we’ve got a privilege of giving people hope… but hope is not talking about hope and saying you’ve got hope. Hope is when you play well… No matter your political difference or your religious differences… for those 80 minutes you agree… that’s not our responsibility, it’s our privilege to try and fix those things”

The everyday pressures that South Africans are expected to endure are truly horrifying. Those in charge speak about us being a “resilient” nation, but we shouldn’t have to be this resilient. We shouldn’t have to endure Stage 6 load shedding. Or water shortages. Or gas explosions that are now seemingly commonplace.

We should not be afraid of what tomorrow may bring us.

The usual response from those in power is to commend South Africans on our collective resilience. And although resilience sounds like a quality, it’s frankly not one that any of us particularly aspire to become more experienced in.

Last week we received an email from a long-time reader saying he was “out”. Not out of the country, but he had decided to no longer read the news. It was an interesting decision – that if he just blocked out the news, perhaps all the problems of the country would just go away? We understand where he’s coming from; we would far prefer to be scrambling to try to find a story than to be reporting and investigating the massive level of corruption and criminality that we currently do. Unfortunately that’s not reality.

But it’s also not without hope. Our society may be broken, but we’re not out.

There is always a lesson from adversity and today’s lesson comes from the Japanese.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending it with lacquered gold. The result is something stronger and more precious than the original.

Resilience is about not breaking. Kintsugi is about mending what is broken.

What the Boks show us is that we really are Stronger Together. The unity that we feel when we’re cheering on our world champs is the gold lacquer that our broken society needs right now.

Our nation must face its brokenness and come together with the same level of determination and support that we give to our national rugby team. We need to get behind those who are deciding that not only are they “in” but they’re going to help mend what is broken.

For us at Daily Maverick that means we need to keep doing our jobs to hold those in power to account. We are the refs in need of support from the audience too.

We don’t have a paywall because the work we do is a right to all South Africans, and because we believe that real change is possible when the truth is revealed.

We’ve got the most experienced newsroom in the country. We’ve proven through our past investigations that we can affect real change. Now we just need our readers to back us so that we can keep going.

If you have the means, then sign up to our Maverick Insider membership and contribute whatever you can. These contributions pay our journalists’ salaries.

Every week our inbox is flooded with emails from those of you who wish you could contribute but are currently jobless or navigating a budget around a state pension.

We need you to know this: we’re playing for you, most of all.

For those of you who can afford to – even the price of a cappuccino a week – we invite you to join us, to not bow out.

Don’t just reserve your passion for South Africa for when we’re playing rugby. And winning.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jack Russell says:

    Nice to dream but what nonsense. Sure there are people who can fix SA, always have been, but right now the cadre deploying and grossly incompetent anc, soon possibly to be joined by the eff, are in control and in the position to carry on wrecking anything positive.

    • Anthony Burman says:

      Lovely article. Rassie choked up with tears when he described how Mapimpi was alone in the world. All Mapimpi had was the team. It was unbearably sad and extremely uplifting.

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