South Africans have been on cloud nine since the Springboks' glorious win in the final of the Rugby World Cup last week – and rightly so! In captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus, many see the rainbow nation reborn, a show of unity between black and white that shows what can be done.
The team's victory has also ignited debate about what the victory means: does this help national cohesion and unity? Is this another opportunity to forge a new nation amid persistent societal problems? And should we burden sportsmen with the awesome responsibility of healing historical wounds?
News24's editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson believes Kolisi's Boks present a historical opportunity, while author Sisonke Msimang differs from him. And analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela believes the past week's event shows up those who want to sow division.
The Springboks have revived the much-maligned concept of South Africa as a rainbow nation with a historic Rugby World Cup championship victory on Saturday. But Siya Kolisi and Rassie Erasmus' rainbow nation has no room for holy cows. With the greatest of respect, this is not a time for only singing "Shosholoza" and holding hands and thinking things will change.
Rugby culture in South Africa has been stubbornly resistant to change. But the usual crowd shots of all-white South African crowds at rugby matches – sometimes waving the old apartheid flag – are becoming a thing of the past. It is precisely for this reason that Kolisi’s captaincy is so important.
The fact that the detractors of the Springboks' Rugby World Cup win are coming out for all to see them is not a bad thing. It allows us to challenge them about their myopic attempt to elevate narrow racial considerations over national pride.