South Africans are very sporty and devote a lot of time and energy to competitive sports. For this reason, they excel in both individual and squad sports.
Rugby has always been the country absolute beloved competitive game and the national team “the Springboks” is the utmost celebrated sportive group. Fans nickname them “the Boks”, “Bokke” or “Amabokoboko”. After the international boycott of competitions in 1987 and 1991 during the apartheid era, the team participated in seven of the nine world tournaments.
Other well liked group sports include soccer, rugby and cricket. The most followed individual sports are athletics, boxing and tennis, and many South African champions are scattered around the globe.
The diaspora of SA sport talents
As a testament to the skill of local champions, many South Africans play abroad. Footballer Storm Roux plays for the Melbourne Victory team, Darren Keet plays in the Belgian first league (OH Leuven), Tyroane Sandows plays for the São Paulo team. Percy Tau plays for Brighton in the English Premier League, Joel Untersee competes for Juventus in Italy’s Serie A and Sergio Marakis for Maritimo (Portugal’s Primeira Liga).
Similar numbers of South Africa’s 400,000 rugby players are scattered around the world. Only a few players have moved abroad permanently, while most are only there temporarily. To name just a few champions: Robert du Preez plays for Sale, Dillyn Leyds in England for Wasps, while Malcolm Marx is a star for Japan’s NTT Shining Arcs.
The list of SA expatriate cricket champions is also long. Keaton Jennings, Jason Roy and Tom Curran play in England, Colin Munro, Devon Conway, Glenn Philips, BJ Watling and Neil Wagner in New Zealand, Marnus Labuschangne and Michael Neser in Australia. There is also Curtis Campher in Ireland and Ryan Ten Doeschate in the Netherlands.
South Africa’s triumphs at the Olympics
The list of awards and honors South African athletes have received is long, but their results come on the back of almost 30 years of international bans and ostracism. From the 1964 Olympics until the conclusion of racial segregation in 1992, South African athletes were barred from participating in international competitions.
The end of segregation has led to a national revival of the sport. The inclusion of the black majority has led to better results in traditional and new sports disciplines.
Fifty-one medals were won by South African athletes in the 12 Summer Olympics from 1904 to 1960, while the eight events from 1992 to 2020 brought the SA team 38 medals.
Nelson Mandela used the rugby field to unite his nation. At the 1995 World Cup final, he wore a Springbok blouse, once a hated symbol of white supremacy. When Mandela appeared in the stadium wearing the green Springbok blouse, the predominantly Afrikaner crowd chanted his name several times – Photo credit: http://youtube.com
The Amazing South African Boxers
South Africa has more than seventy world titleholders who have captured one hundred and fourteen belts. In 1998 alone, South Africa scored eight world dominators. However, due to a scarcity of funding, South Africa lost several opportunities to organize world championships and local boxers had to fight abroad for the world belts. Nick Durandt, a prominent boxing coach, noted that patronage and the live stream had declined significantly over the past thirty years, contributing to the marginalization of the once important national sport.
This prompted President Nelson Mandela (himself a former amateur boxer with a record of 18 wins and 0 losses) to say, “Nothing is motivating when you see how boxing is treated here.” However, boxing is gradually receiving additional institutional funding, and more and more sponsors are supporting this combat sport. Proof of the return of popularity is that boxing events are once again on the lists of online sports betting sites.
The lack of inclusion of women
Despite the abolition of any distinction between locals and Afrikaners, the South African sporting environment still struggles to prove itself inclusive. Sport is still perceived as a ‘male domain’ and is subject to significant gender polarity. For this reason, institutions and sports organizations are strongly committed to breaking the current ‘strong link connecting manliness and sport’.