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Springbok Rugby: Silencing politicians (for a week or two) since 1995

Updated: May 1



Almost a week into our reign as 2023 Rugby World Champions, the euphoria in South Africa remains tangible. And rightly so. Our team played an incredible tournament, met and slayed four monsters of world rugby, and emerged victorious on that rainy Saturday night in Paris, to hold the Webb Ellis gold-ware aloft. Kolisi, the leader of the monster slayers spoke from his heart throughout the tournament. He spoke of South Africa’s across-the-board support for his team, for our team. He spoke of our incredible resilience, as a team and as a country, of a united country, of being #strongertogether. Beautiful. He is right. Completely right.


South Africa united behind the Springboks. As a country we endured three narrow victories, with our heads-in-our-hands, and our hearts-in-our-mouths. Together. We lived the anxiety and drama on the edges-of-our-seats. Together. We have sung, and cried, and laughed, and punched the air. Together. From the leafy suburbs of Johannesburg, to the desolate farms in the Northern Cape; from the settlements surrounding Durban to the villages of the Eastern Cape, we have weathered the storms of this tournament, and emerged victorious. Deliriously victorious. Together. We share our pride and joy, we share our common humanity. Together. We united around the Springboks. They are our Springboks, and we love them.


One of the peculiar advantages of progressing out of the group stages, and into the knockout portion of the World Cup, and then winning the whole bloody thing, is that the politicians, for the most part, have been mute for the past seven weeks. An eternity in the political wilderness. As our team of monster-slayers worked their way through the competition, and our excitement, expectation and unity grew, a political hush descended on the country. An eerie, beautiful silence. The divisive politics disappeared. This was not by accident. This was a well informed, strategic move. After all, any politician worth their salt, knows that messages of division, messages of difference would not only fall unnoticed during this special time, but would in fact damage their credibility as leaders and potential leaders of our country. They know not to break the rainbow, when the rainbow is shining. They wait for the clouds.


At this point the unity that this victory has delivered seems unshakeable. And yet, based on the lessons of the other three World titles we have won at this tournament, the unity will certainly subside, and disappear. In the weeks ahead, as our excitement wanes ,and becomes less visceral, perhaps more difficult to access, politicians, eager to re-establish their narratives, their positions, their sides, will begin to circle. Like hyenas around an injured buck, they will gather and begin to howl. To drown out the distant cheers, the joy, the ecstasy from weeks before. To restore order. Opinions, stances and positions will be shouted at us, differences will be highlighted and division fabricated. On all sides. For this is the nature of politics. It’s always about sides. This is their revenue, their power, their frail grasp. Their factions, their gangs, their sides, their arguments, their us-and-thems, will find a voice, perhaps find traction, and viola, the unity we hold so effortlessly right now, will slip through our fingers. Divide and conquer.


But.


And it’s a big, fat, juicy BUT, we have a choice. A real, tangible choice to build unity in South Africa. To play a role in our own future. To direct our own destiny. Ubuntu. It is time for every South African to step onto the field, to leave the stands and to wade into the fight for our country. For our rainbow. It is time to connect. It is time to connect with the people on the other side of the street, on the other side of the river, on the other side of the socio-economic, political or religious divide. On an industrial, collective scale. As a team. Connecting is the greatest act of revolution we, as individuals, can take. Connecting with the people on the other side of our fears, puts the politicians, the thugs, the bullies, and the crooks out of business. Connection builds community, and community destroys division. Community will reclaim our country.


So, how do we do this? Well, its quite simple. Join Ubuntu Army. Ubuntu Army spent the past three-and-half years in the mud and the rubble, through lockdowns, riots and flood, supporting, and advocating for the vulnerable. From this time on the frontline, it became clear that the poverty and frustration in South Africa is growing. Perhaps the most important lesson learnt during those 42 months in the mud and the rubble, was that, despite opinion and politics, that the people on both sides of the cultural, socio-economic, religious and political divides share the same concerns, the same hopes, and many of the same dreams. We’re all the same, at all the important human levels, but different in culture, tradition, belief, resource, geography. While we all move through the world in our own unique ways, the things that really matter to the people on both sides of the divide, are shared.


Ubuntu Army advocates for one thing. Connection. To connect, every South African must build an Ubuntu Link. An Ubuntu Link is an incredibly simple mechanism. It is a direct link between us and a family living on the other side of the street. On the other side of the river. On the other side of the socio-economic, racial or religious divide. On the other side of our fear. In building an Ubuntu Link, we are creating a new extended family. We are creating a micro-community between ourselves and a person, and their family, from whom we have been divided. To do this, we need to leave our comfort zones, to leave the stands, and to introduce ourselves. To create connection. #ubuntulink


An Ubuntu Link prioritises action, over criticism. Criticism is easy. Anyone can do it. Criticism dominates our political and social spaces. Politicians and keyboard activists are brilliant at it. Creation, on the other hand, is more difficult. It involves doing rather than saying. It involves playing, rather than spectating. Creation takes courage and action, but is far more rewarding. Creating an Ubuntu Link creates relationship, dialogue and understanding. Creating an Ubuntu Link creates connection, between previously divided and separated people. Creating an Ubuntu Link destroys mistrust and division and breaks down the building blocks of toxic politics. Creating an Ubuntu Link allows for learning and sharing. Creating an Ubuntu Link creates unity and community. Creating an Ubuntu Link will save our country.


Through weight of numbers, by all stepping onto the field, and by all building an Ubuntu Link of our own, we will meet the division head-on. We will taste the diversity of our country. We will regain our power from the politicians and the corrupt thugs. We will build a strong united nation. A compassionate nation. We will reclaim our country. We will rebuild the rainbow that once promised to shine. United we conquer.


Be like a Bok. Be the change. Connect. Visit www.ubuntuarmy.org for more information

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