chapter  13
Dressed for success
Historicizing Nelson Mandela’s involvement in the 1995 Rugby World Cup
ByAlbert Grundlingh
Pages 10

South Africa's famous rugby victory over the All Blacks on 24 June 1995 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg to become world champions has received considerable academic attention and filmic interest. In dealing with Nelson Mandela's involvement in the rugby tournament, it was pointed out that it was not quite as spontaneous as often assumed, nor did he have a particular interest in rugby before the event. He never showed enthusiasm for rugby, though, a game described by some in the African National Congress (ANC) as the "opium of the Boer". Mandela's appearance in the casually elegant garments was a break from the more staid and formal dress code of politicians of the former dispensation. Mandela's concern about symbolism and image at times assumed greater importance than actual political substance. He was, however, alert to the possibilities of using rugby as a political instrument in order to relate to Afrikaners.