Joost is Hansie-lite

Yawn. I didn’t see this one coming. Ex-Bok scrumhalf and renowned Cat-lover Joost van der Westhuizen has written a book called Spieelbeeld (in English, Mirrorballs), and suddenly he’s moved to confess that it was in fact him in that video that everyone’s forgotten about by now.

Yep, unbelievably, the man snorting Cat and eating pussy, who looks EXACTLY like Joost van der Westhuizen, turns out to actually BE Joost van der Westhuizen. What the hey? That’s not the way it works in Dan Brown books. Disappointing.

I couldn’t give a toss about the asinine trajectory of sin, guilt, forgiveness and book tours in which sportsmen seem to revel in indulging. And as I watched Joost squeeze Amor’s barely discernable buttocks while joining her in a CD-signing orgy at the last Klein Karoo Kunstefees in Oudsthoorn, I thought to myself—it’s all smoke and mirrors. The personal and the public are probably entirely divorced for celebrities.

But if there’s one thing I hate early on a Sunday morning, it’s the stench of self-serving religiosity. So reading my morning news sites over a cup of coffee, I had to confront Joost reconfigured as a Christ figure, or at the very least as Hansie-lite.

According to News24, the English-speaking man’s Rapport, Joost’s “confession comes after months of denials”. “It is me in the sex video and I’m very, very sorry that I lied”, he tells us. And then asks us to “Please forgive me.”

And the kicker, to use a rugby term, is when Joost tells us that he, Amor and their children went to visit evangelist Angus Buchan in June to ask for advice. “Uncle Angus made me realise that I must stand up and be a pillar for my family.”

Leaving aside how uncomfortable that must be for a man more suited to crouching next to scrums or behind hookers (sorry), I fail to understand why on earth I should give a fuck about whether Joost van der Westhuizen is forgiven or not. It’s got nothing to do with me, it’s got nothing to to with rugby supporters, and it sure as hell has got nothing to with some faux-prophet squatting in a haystack of money in a field somewhere.

What incredible hubris leads minor celebrities to believe that we are interested in intervening on their behalf in the spiritual barter system that is religion? Surely it’s up to Amor, his family and Calvin Klein to forgive Joost, and ultimately whatever version of god he has configured to best meet his needs?

I can understand Hansie asking for a nation’s forgiveness, or at least that portion of them that supports cricket. But Joost has certainly not committed any crime against a nation. At most, he’s broken a few laws and a few hearts, but he certainly hasn’t let down the nation. Unless the nation is really so stupid that it needs to believe that its sportsmen are infallible heroes.

Chris Roper

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