Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mbalula urges Boks to ‘moer’ opponents

The pressure and excitement was palpable as thousands of South Africans bid farewell to the defending Rugby World Cup champions in Sandton, Johannesburg on Thursday.

Thousands of fans lined the streets to urge the Springboks to “bring it back home”. Nelson Mandela Square went Bok-beserk earlier in the day, reminiscent of the 2010 Soccer World Cup parade in Sandton last year.

People donned their rugby jerseys, painted their faces green and gold, blew vuvuzelas and waved the South African flag, ahead of the team’s departure for New Zealand on Thursday evening, to defend its 2007 title.

If they succeeded, the Springboks would be the only team in Rugby World Cup history to win the Webb Ellis Cup three times.

“Viva ama-bokke-bokke, viva!” Captain John Smith shouted at the crowd from the stage in Nelson Mandela Square.

“This is humbling,” he said when the team made its way to the stage, ahead of the singing of the national anthem.

A number of artists performed throughout the afternoon and evening. The Idols top 10 were in the VIP section, along with singer-songwriter Danny K.

Springbok regalia was on sale, and ushers handed out pamphlets with the lyrics to Shosholoza.

Also spotted was television figure Gladys Gaily, better known as “The First Lady” or “Mama Ajax”, who became famous for her over-the-top regalia during last year’s Soccer World Cup.

“Just yesterday was 2010, and now it’s 2011 … It’s time for the Springboks. They must moer [thrash] them,” she said.

“I know I’m normally soccer crazy, but today I’m here in support of the Boks.”

Springbok coach Pieter De Villiers described the event as the “most humble highlight” of his life.

“For eight weeks, we will carry 50-million people in our hearts,” he told the crowd.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said he stood in front of the Springboks with pride, honour and excellence.

“Go to New Zealand and make us proud. We stand here, black and white, red, yellow and purple … As a rainbow nation.

“Moer hulle! Bliksem hulle, die Bokke sal dans!”

A group of schoolboys from Jeppe Preparatory were lucky enough to get to the front of the stage.

“We are here to see our bokke! Go bokke!” shouted 11-year-old Reece Bloemstein.

Twelve-year-old Uyiosa Eweka, and Lusanda Nkosi (13) could not wait to see local band Freshlyground perform later.

The team signed autographs along West Street, before taking the Gautrain to OR Tambo International airport, from where they depart to New Zealand on Thursday night. — Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

NW Premier Mokgoro ‘meddles’ in contentious R1.5m HOD appointment

Provincial HOD hired despite implication in ‘jobs-for-pals’ probe involving former minister Faith Muthambi

Wild garlic harvesters back in court

Healers say the plant is part of their heritage, but officials counter that it is a protected species

More top stories

New Covid-19 variant in South Africa ‘of concern at a...

The Covid-19 B.1.617 variant, first detected in India, is now listed as one of concern, but the World Health Organisation says it does not doubt the efficacy of global vaccines

Your guide to side effects: What you can expect after...

Soon, South Africa will start with its mass vaccine roll-out. We take a look at what to expect when you get vaccinated.

Travel ban could return after more Covid-19 variants are found...

The government is to decide whether travel restrictions will be implemented after variants originally from India and the UK were detected in South Africa.

Drop in child vaccinations a danger

There are fears of a resurgence in preventable childhood diseases in the face of poor immunisation data
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×