South African Sporting

OlympicsPart Four of Have You Heard From Johannesburg? focused on sports and how it influenced movements regarding Apartheid.  Out of all four distinct racial groups in South Africa, each group played sports only within their race.  There was a twenty-five year battle using sports against Apartheid.

Before watching this part of the video, I never knew that they used sports to go against Apartheid.  African nations boycotted the Olympics and countries were withdrawing left and right.  I thought it was amazing how over ninety countries said that either you have all of us or you have South Africa.  They said that if you truly want an international Olympics then you could not have South Africa participate.  Two years later, due to the boycotts, South Africa was banned from the Olympics. This shows how people can use different aspects of society to make a change. The only problem was that they were banned from every international sporting competition except for rugby.  Rugby was the new outlet for demonstrators to try and make a difference. sports

Demonstrations were inside and outside every rugby match and because it was out in the open and in the public, they thought change could be made. The Springbok rugby team of South Africa had a tour in which demonstrators would follow them everywhere; some of which resulted in state of emergencies where the army had to interfere.

Australia and South Africa ruled rugby; the matches against each other were the biggest out of all of them because the teams were both so good.  Although the match was between New Zealand and South Africa was competitive and great to watch, South Africans couldn’t understand why the people of their own race were cheering on the Black South Africans to beat them. I thought it was interesting to see how the New Zealand players were showing the Springbok team how they felt even if they were supporting rugby as a sport by playing them.

olympic handcuffsThe Olympics were a huge way to promote change and try to make people see the importance of what was happening in South Africa. Since New Zealand went to tour in South Africa, South Africans refused to talk to anyone from New Zealand during the Olympics.  New Zealanders were told that they were the ones making problems in the Olympic games.  I thought it was interesting how big of an uproar New Zealand made, when they pride themselves on being racially equal, yet they were supporting South Africa by playing against the most racially unequal place.

Demonstrators said that they would close down the country of New Zealand if the Springbok team came.  The rugby game was called off.  When the rugby game was called off, it signified how the demonstrations were working and people were starting to see the eye opening effects that sporting could take on.  The television screen during the called off game read that five to six hundred people denied the rights of twenty eight thousand.  I thought that was eye opening to see what a sporting event could cause and how reactions, good or bad would still make a difference.

RugbyIn 1995 after apartheid had ended, Nelson Mandela helped reconcile the nation by wearing a Springbok rugby jersey. This is an example of how little movements in different aspects of society like sporting can promote change and be a force of action.


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