The country’s first democratically elected Magistrate Cyril Ramaphosa, was there in Yokohama, Japan at the Rugby World Cup to watch the South Africans play England, the bookies favourites in an enthralling final. The Springboks under the astute technical tutelage of coach Rassie Erasmus and the” never say die,” unrelenting leadership of Siyathanda Kolisi lifted the Webb Ellis trophy after 80 gruelling minutes, the mainstream media and social media were a flood with congratulatory messages and wishes of goodwill, so many that I’m sure they’d have been able to raise the Titanic. The resultant outpouring of social well-being and familial warmth was unlike any other rugby final we’d experienced, as many commentators and government officials suggesting that things will now change in our country? Their arrival back home matched these national feelings of pride and achievement when they were met by throngs of people at O.R. Tambo International. If you were an outsider, you would’ve thought we had just now landed a man on Mars.

So let’s interrogate why South Africa and South Africans are the only country in the world that elevates national sporting wins, especially in Cricket, Soccer and Rugby to such existential levels and be honest about its long-term impact. We’ve been down this road before in 1995, in 2007 and again with one of the most successful hosting’s of the Soccer World Cup in 2010, so what will change now in 2019 with our third Rugby World Cup trophy safely tucked away in our national rugby union’s  cabinet, and the nations collective hearts?

  • Will it change the way black and white people view each other, given that this is for the very first time a black captain in charge of a largely white team?
  • Will it change the way white people, the erstwhile beneficiaries of Apartheid and still the primary custodians of our economy treat black people?
  • Will our existing workforce suddenly earn a living wage?
  • Will the devastating levels of economic inequality and systemic poverty change?
  • Will millions of black people suddenly find gainful employment?
  • Will we as black and white people start seeing each other as equal and deserving occupants of the same stretch of dirt, which is South Africa?
  • Will the R75 billion in untaxed monies that illicitly flows offshore every year reduce or stop?
  • What were we expecting from a sports win, or any win?
  • Aren’t our expectations too high or are we as a nation just so desperate for things to be fixed, that we latch onto anything to save us, even if it’s just another trophy?
  • Ridiculous as this may sound, but the winner of our weekly or monthly Super Lotto Draw probably contributes more to the country and his/her community in real terms than any successful captain of a winning national South African team, irrespective of the sporting code. 

This is a cruel joke played on an ever desperate population seeking redemption, fulfilment and hopes in a world that offers none and has none to give, by wily politicians and a complicit white-owned media that has everything to gain by this dastardly distraction, or sleight of hand.

So here’s my logic folks, if the most powerful man in our country, the first Magistrate of a democratic Republic and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa cannot effect meaningful socioeconomic change, why would we expect that from the captain of the national rugby team, Siyathanda Kolisi? This is just another “bread and circuses” show smartly played out and manipulated by an impotent government, now exhausted and hollowed out by the power of corporate capital, and implicitly admitting its indentured servitude to its masters. It seems to me to be necessary to keep the masses distracted and in-check when so few are busy looting the country at the expense of so many. 

“South Africa is now safely in the hands of international capital” pronounced George Soros at Davos in 2011, and I cannot raise a contrary argument that would be true….