Springbok soldiers fighting for us all

TODAY the nation calls upon our "last line of defence", the Springboks - our glorious army - to go and defend our national pride and glory.

Today we command our "sports marines", Amabhokobhoko, to raise our flag high in pursuit of victory and glory, in the war to defend our trophy.

We call on the people of the Republic to jet to New Zealand to lend support to this noble campaign.

Determination and dedication will see the Springboks through in this World Cup, and this year, history will repeat itself!

As Mandela put it in his opening address at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) on December 20 1991: "Today will be indelibly imprinted in the history of our country."

Since 1994, the people of the Republic and the world witnessed an analogous development in large-scale sport activism; an expansion and deepening of participation in sport at all levels.

Sport became a seminal activity in the social pursuit of cultivating a healthy nation through a healthy body and a healthy mind.

Indeed, this period marked a renaissance of a nonracial, non-sexist, democratic and united sport in South Africa.

In this short space of time, sports activism in our country achieved greater national and international prominence and impact because of its cohesive and public nature.

We are therefore inspired by the consistent victories of the Springboks in international tournaments.

This shows that South Africans are winners!

It is indeed humbling to address our national team, Amabhokobhoko, and the entire nation on this important occasion as our boys take part in the World Cup, trying to defend our pride in New Zealand.

There is a strong sense of pride that one feels when talking about our boys because as a team with a collective purpose, they have already made us proud and conquered the IRB World Cup title not once, but twice!

Again on Sunday, September 11, they showed once more their strength by winning against Wales in a tough match.

As the government of the Republic of South Africa, we would like to call on all South Africans to unite and rally behind the boys as they represent the country in the Rugby World Cup.

The tournament in New Zealand is being watched by all our people in South Africa and the world.

We have therefore established Ekhaya Villages in New Zealand - a "Home Away From Home" that is created at all the centres where our team is going to take part.

The excitement displayed by our people is like electricity that keeps our boys focused on bringing the trophy home.

We would like to reinforce the fact that all our people are united behind the team and that we are showcasing that our country has a proud history of being a successful sporting nation.

As a country we believe that the positive spirit our people displayed during the 1995 and 2007 Rugby World Cups and the ultimate 2010 Fifa World Cup, the Netball World Championships and the Cricket World Cup in 2011 as well and the All Africa Games, among others, must continue.

The all-round support that was generated for Bafana Bafana and other national teams must now be inculcated into massive and overwhelming support for the Springboks in their heroic war for the Web Ellis trophy.

Let us therefore unite behind our national team and support the Springboks. I thank you all.

  • The writer is the minister of sport and recreation