In addition to having the newly elected president, Nelson Mandela, South Africa was preparing to host the Rugby World Cup in 1995.
“However, during the time of apartheid only the Afrikaners were excited to see their Springboks play. In the final match, when the home team won, the entire South African nation was unified in joy” (Majendie 2011).
With every win the white team gained they received more and more support for their fellow black South Africans. The final game against the New Zealand All Blacks “was incredibly tense and emotional,” according to Francois Pienaar, the Afrikaner captain of the Springbok.
Mandela saw Rugby as a way of unifying the country. He viewed the World Cup as an event that both blacks and whites could come together and fight as one country.
For one day the crimes rates were significantly reduced, all South Africans joined together to celebrate the country’s big win!
In an interview by the Telegraph, a UK newspaper, Aubrey Matshiqi, of the Centre for Policy Studies said, “the euphoria of the Rugby World Cup overshadowed the inequalities that remain in South Africa.”
For Pienaar it was important to become the World Cup Champions; but for Mandela it was important for South Africa to win because of the unifying effect it had on the country.
To many that game was just another day for sports, but it meant so much more for the country. Being in the heat of the game, all racial barriers were destroyed and all members of that community channeled their energy into something positive. The focus was no longer on the color of someone’s skin, but as the win for the country. At that moment, it wasn’t Blacks or Whites who won; it was South Africa.