Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was thrilled to meet the Springbok rugby team in Cape Town today. He is a passionate Springbok supporter, and a massive fan of captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus.
Prior to joining Kolisi on the balcony of Cape Town City Hall to show the Rugby World Cup to citizens gathered on the Grand Parade, the Arch chatted to players and their families, blessing them, thanking them and wishing them well.
Dwarfed by most of the squad, he appeared particularly impressed by Trevor Nyakane and Tendai Mtawarira’s size – while Faf de Klerk took the opportunity to show him the famously patriotic underwear he revealed to Prince Harry after winning the cup eight days ago.
The wave of patriotism and goodwill sweeping the country with the Rugby World Cup winning Springboks revisits the promise of the united, non-racial society Nelson Mandela and his colleagues embodied a generation ago.
It creates the opportunity for all South Africans to reflect how far we have journeyed since 1994, and how far we still must travel.
We have had similar moments of high symbolism in the past, that on reflection we have failed to harness for sustainable effect. We cannot afford to sit back and bask in our glory now; we must use the momentum to deepen our commitment to building a nation in which all citizens are of equal worth and have equal opportunities to shine.
Moments after the final whistle blew in Yokohama last week, Archbishop and Mrs Leah Tutu commented: “On days such as this we understand that when we pull together the sky is the limit. Our father, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, is smiling from the heavens today.”
After meeting the Springboks in Cape Town today Archbishop Tutu said: “What this group of youngsters has achieved speaks, beyond rugby, to the possibility of what we can be. No matter where we come from, if we reach for the stars we can actually touch them.”