For a country as racially and communally divided as - if not more than - any other nation, sport goes a long way beyond being just a passion for South Africa. It is one of the primary means to unite the country.
Less than a week after the Springboks lifted the Rugby World Cup, their cricket counterparts are inspired to do their bit on a cricket field.
“Obviously coming from a very divided background in the last 70 to 100 years, those sort of mindsets are still quite entrenched in a lot of communities and a lot of older generations,” Rassie van der Dussen, the South Africa batter, said ahead of its World Cup clash versus New Zealand.
“What the Springboks and what sport shows us is that as South Africa when you do get things right and you do things the right way at the end of the day, good things happen to good people. And that Springbok team, that’s what they are.”
“They are all hardworking, good South Africans with a real humility about them, a real hunger for success. For me, it certainly shows that when you are willing to put differences aside, what’s possible for a country like ours.”
Van der Dussen stressed that recent political and social controversies in South Africa, besides the pandemic, has brought the national cricket team closer.
“The situations we faced in the past four years, whether it be COVID, whether it be Black Lives Matter, SJN (Social Justice and Nation Building) various political stories that we have had back home and had to manage as a team has really forced us to pull together as a team. That’s the one aspect,” he said.
“The effect of us being really tight off the field as well, really knowing each other intimately. As a group, we have been actually playing together a very long time. Almost between any two members of the squad, there is a real connection. You can find some sort of connection somewhere. If you look at the batters, we have been batting together for a long time.”
“There is definitely something different in this team. Of course, when you are in it, you do feel it. We are blessed in the sense that we are in a great space now. We have had to deal with quite a lot of controversy over the last three years, so that’s really put us in good stead.”
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