Young lions paid price for our freedom
THE chilly weather that freeze down to the marrow of our bones today signifies the arrival of the conditions that the youth of 1976 faced as they braved not only the weather but the might of the brutal apartheid forces.
They braved these icy conditions for the youth of this country to achieve their freedom, education having been central to their demands.
Yes, the current generation in the political arena will say "I must roar", while the youth at the bling floor will say "I must spit like I am a ghost of many of these youth who lost their lives for us to be where we are today". Indeed, June 16 1976 has come of age.
We have reached the age of hope and responsibility in pursuit of excellence in our future advancements.
Since then the spirits of our forebears were evident in all the international competitions our country was involved in. Yes, many of our youth lost an opportunity to showcase their skills and natural talent on the world stage because of the apartheid system.
We talk of the likes of Eric "Scara" Sono, Lucas "Masterpieces" Moripe, Kaizer "Chincha Guluva" Motaung, Ephraim "Jomo" Sono. They were among the soccer talents we had but we could not showcase those dribbling skills and the tsamayas that made our country united in the theatres of dreams.
The moments of victory the country enjoyed in 1995, when President Nelson Mandela, Steve Tshwete and Francois Pienaar hoisted the Webb Ellis Trophy at Ellis Park Stadium and in 1996 when Mandela, Tshwete and Neil Tovey hoisted the Africa Cup of Nations trophy at Soccer City, were memorable and are engraved in our hearts. At the centre of these celebrations were the young people on the rugby and soccer pitches of our country. These young warriors who wore the national colours with pride knew and understood the history of this country.
They knew that many of our youth could not represent their country in the past because of apartheid .
We are enjoying those freedoms led and gained through the sacrifices of these young lions .
To Bafana Bafana, the Springboks, the Proteas and all other national teams and the Olympic team, you must, on June 16, remember those who didn't have the opportunity to wear the national colours.
When you get an opportunity to represent South Africa as an athlete, remember those who were the best but never had an opportunity like yours. Let the spirit of nationhood be instilled in your African veins and and push you to succeed.
To the sports administrators, it will help, one time, if you can take all the national teams to Freedom Park Monument in Tshwane and the Robben Island Museum to teach these players about the history of this country so that when they are on the field of play they understand the country they are representing.
We are free today, but that freedom will be short-lived if we fail to understand the past.
We are the children of OR Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Solomon Mahlangu, Jeff Masemola.
I am like the NBA finalist Thabo Sefolosha on the Oklahoma City Thunder floor. I am like the magnificent Patrick Lambie at fullback for the Boks.
Yes, indeed, I am like the thunderous Marsha Maresca on the SA female hockey team.