A sweet 16 dream ride for Bafana

THERE are some things in life which, for some unknown reasons, have a special but inexplicable meaning and significance in the annals of nations and communities.

THERE are some things in life which, for some unknown reasons, have a special but inexplicable meaning and significance in the annals of nations and communities.

For reasons that neither I nor anyone I spoke to could explain, the number "16" appears to have significance in the history of South Africa, especially the political aspect of the history of our great country.

To start with, it is a known historical fact that King Dingane of the Zulu nation scored a military victory over the Voortrekkers at Blood River on December 16. As if to take a cue from this historic event, some major events in our contemporary history tend to either happen on the 16th day of a month or 16 years one after the other.

The ANC formed its armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, on December 16 1960. This was 16 years after the formation of the ANC Youth League in 1944.

Sixteen years after the formation of the ANC Youth League also saw the Sharpeville massacre and the subsequent banning of the ANC and PAC.

The year 1968 saw the formation of the first Black Consciousness organisation in South Africa, the South African Students Organisation. It also saw the Pietermaritzburg trial of the first MK combatants who had infiltrated South Africa as stowaways in a ship from Tanzania. These two major events took place 16 years after the ANC's Defiance Campaign of 1952.

In 1978 South Africa was stunned by the brutal murder in detention of the father of Black Consciousness, Steve Biko. This tragedy befell our country 16 years after the ANC held its first conference in Lobatse, Botswana, in 1962.

As I have already pointed out, 1960 saw the Sharpeville massacre, the banning of liberation organisations and the formation of MK. Sixteen years later South Africa was shaken by the 1976 students uprising, which marked a turning point in the country's liberation struggle. Either by coincidence or by design, the uprising started on June 16.

In 1959 Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe formed the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania after breaking away from the ANC. Sixteen years later, in 1975, a new era of open defiance shook apartheid South Africa to its very foundations when the Black Consciousness Movement organised successful pro-Frelimo rallies, which led to a ruthless clampdown on BCM leaders by apartheid security police.

The year1972 saw the formation of the Black People's Convention (BPC), the first overt black political organisation in South Africa since the banning of the ANC and PAC.

The BPC's formation took place 16 years after the ANC had adopted the Freedom Charter as its basic policy document in 1956. This was also 16 years after the historic march by 20000 South African women to the Union Buildings in protest against pass laws.

In 1994, the decades-long heroism of the people of South Africa was rewarded with the birth of a new democratic political dispensation. This was 16 years after the cold-blooded murder of Biko.

It is worthy of note that South Africa hosts the first Fifa Soccer World Cup in Africa in 2010. Suffice to say, this historic event coincides with the 16th anniversary of a democratic South Africa.

Is this a good omen for our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, to make history and reach the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time? Or will they go all the way and celebrate 16 years of democracy by winning the World Cup?

If you think I am a dreamer, call this a sweet (16) dream. To all those prophets of doom who feed us with endless obituaries of Bafana Bafana, South Africans have this collective message: wake up and smell the Diski. Come on board and take a ride with Scooter sa Bafana!

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