Mhambi has been redeployed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Argentina and South Africa's very different battles

Mhambi is just back from a sunny Marseilles where I went to watch the Springboks play Fiji.

A few observations then from this trip:

1. An unfortunate amount of middle aged South African rugby supporters are obese. At times I was embarrassed, they looked like caricatures of Americans we see on TV.

2. South Africans, especially white ones, need to learn to sing and dance. Even England's stodgy renditions of "Swing low sweet Chariot" is more musical and charming than our chant "Bokke", "Bokke".

I was in mind to create a banner, "Ha-ba-na, Ha-ba-na, sal jy die Boere laat dans". (Ha-ba-na, Ha-ba-na, will you make the Boers dance) A pun on the controversial De la Rey song: Habana - a coloured player - leading the Afrikaners through throwing shapes. But through inertia I never did. What a pity. We are in need of a bit of coaxing.

3. The night before the game I watched France pull of the near impossible feat, beating the mighty All Blacks. We were in a bar in the French town of Arles. As the win became a possibility, the French crowd burst out in song with a passionate rendition of Les Marseilles, their rousing anthem. There was no English type qualms of nationalism or the like.

End of the game
Originally uploaded by fabdany.

4. There was another banner I wanted to make but never did. When Argentina beat the Irish I spotted a banner in the crowd that read: "Argetine existe". Argentina has for years been excluded by the elite Rugby countries. They were by beating big teams, demanding respect and recognition.

It immediately struck me to make one that read: "Les Pumas jouent pour exister. Les Springboks jouent pour rester vivant." (The Pumas play to exist. The Springboks play to stay alive.) I never made this banner either. It's weird, but making it felt like identifying yourself as a victim. Mhambi was not comfortable with that. Not yet.

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