#changethestory: We need to manage wins for national good

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Opinion /  / 

Rugby World Cup 2019 Champions Springbok were doing their victory parade in Cape Town. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

So the question uppermost in most of our minds this past week has been: Do victories like winning the Rugby World Cup and the Africa Netball Cup Championship inspire our country to greater unity, or is it a false flag?

The 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations wins and hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup created a sense of “better together” like few other events had done over the past 25 years. Our street celebrations lasted for days and fuelled heightened expectations of a country that had solved every problem it had or might still encounter.

Waking up 25 years later with the migraine of corruption, lingering racism and entrenched poverty, and with very little to show for all our international sports victories (31 million people still live in crippling poverty in our country), we must navigate and interpret these new victories with careful thought.

Let’s be clear: these victories have very little to do with a renewed sense of unity or the death of racism, and much more to do with traditional euphoria and a sense of national pride.

Ebrahim Fakier, from the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, put it very well when he said: “It is transitory and ephemeral, but it isn’t false or fake it also isn’t about ‘unity’. It’s about national pride, triumph over adversity, celebration of success”

I’d hate to see the pain on the faces of poor people six months from now when another act of deep tragedy befalls them or another act of abhorrent racism destroys any vision that a better country is possible. Our sports victories do show us that we’re bette

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