Monthly Archives: July 2019

Nelson Mandela – Symbol of freedom and equality (Part 1)

Nelson Mandela was great not only because of the struggle and unyielding years in the prison, the journey to abolish the Apartheid regime or the national reconciliation effort. He was immortal because he built the foundations for democracy in South Africa.

From prisoner to president

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was born in a prison family in the village of Mvezo, Umtata district, capital of Transkei state, South Africa with the name Rolihlahla Mandela. Seven and a half years old, he went to school. During the first day of school, the white teacher gave him the English name Nelson. By the end of his life, Nelson Mandela still did not understand what that name meant and why the teacher gave him that name.

Nelson Mandela – Symbol of freedom and equality

The father died when Nelson was 9, another chief adopted him. In his memoir “Long Walk To Freedom”, Nelson Mandela recounted that it was the time he was raised and educated strictly to be a “successor”.

After graduating from high school, Nelson attended Fort Hare University, the “nursery” of South African intellectuals. Nelson studied hard and actively participated in sports activities. In the last academic year (1941), he was forced to leave the school because he did not succumb to the mischief of the director in the election of the Student Council Executive Committee.

Nelson came to work at a law firm and attended correspondence at the University of South Africa in Johannesburg. Despite spending too little money, Nelson still owes accommodation fee every month. Nelson had to wear the old suit his boss gave him for 5 years with lots of patches.

Life in Johannesburg opened for Nelson a new world. He was painfully aware: An African child was born only in a maternity home for Africans, only to board a bus for Africans, only in the designated area for Africans, to go to school only and find jobs for Africans and can always be stopped in the middle of the road, if he/she doesn’t bring identification cards he/she can be thrown into the jail.

 

How did sports heal South Africa? (Part 2)

The Apartheid government soon realized that they had made a serious mistake when organizing the friendly match, so after that, football was severely suppressed in this country, to the point that white players had to retire. In schools, football is replaced by other sports such as Cricket and Rugby. Six years later, South African football was “revived” after the FIFA ban, when Sono reappeared as a hero to save the country’s football. After the feat of scoring four goals in the Argentina net, Sono went to the United States to play for New York Cosmos club, playing alongside the names of world football names such as: Pele, Beckenbauer … Earning good amount of money, in 1982, Sono returned to his hometown, bought Highland Park, the symbol of Apartheid regime. On the FIFA website on that day there was an article about the event: “It was a trade event that symbolized significance during the time when colored people were suppressed by the Apartheid regime. FIFA appreciates Sono’s work as a part of bringing South African football back to world football.

Rugby, football in South African society

Last week, the owner and team coach Jomo Cosmos (new name of Highland Park team) Sono sent deep condolences to the family of Joost van der Westhuizen-player who went into history with the victory to rise South Africa in Rugby World Cup championship 1995. On February 6, after 6 years of fighting Parkinson’s disease, Joost van der Westhuizen died at age 45 at his home.

For rugby lovers in South Africa, Joost van der Westhuizen is considered an irreplaceable legend. He made 89 appearances in the national team stage of 1993-2003 and was a key player in helping South Africa to win the Rugby World Cup 1995.

We returned to South Africa in the 60s of the last century, the rugby tournaments here included all black players, without any white players. We would imagine no football match having white player. In South African society at that time, people of color and white as on two parallel lines.