chapter  6
‘One Nation, One Soul, One Dream, One Goal?’ Sport and national identity in South Africa: Marc Keech
Pages 23

Morné du Plessis, the former captain and manager of the South African rugby team, read out 26 names live on national television in May 1995. Not ordinary names, but rugby union players who carried the hope of the nation and who gathered behind a large sign which read ‘One Team, One Country’. Nobody who watched the 1995 Rugby World Cup final will forget how Joel Stransky, standing deeper than normal at fly half and slightly to the right of the posts, just outside the opposition 22-yard line, calmly slotted the winning drop goal in extra time to secure the title. But is that really what people remember about the match at Ellis Park, the citadel of Springbok rugby? More likely, the image that is imprinted in the mind is of President Nelson Mandela, wearing the green Springbok rugby shirt, the sporting symbol of apartheid, emblazoned on the back with the yellow number 6, the shirt of team captain, Francois Pienaar. And whilst the crowd chanted ‘Nel-son, Nel-son’ before the match, Pienaar collected the trophy as the victorious captain before being interviewed by the host broadcaster:

‘Francois, fantastic support here today from 63,000 South Africans?’ . . . I replied, ‘David, we didn’t have the support of 63,000 South Africans today. We had the support of 42 million South Africans’.2