South Africa: rugby’s race problem | The Economist

South Africa: rugby’s race problem | The Economist


It was a win that unified a divided country We were united as a rainbow nation In 1995, one year after the country’s first ever multi-racial elections… …South Africa hosted—and won—the Rugby World Cup When the final whistle went and I looked around the stadium… …all different creeds and colour of people, they were hugging each other It adds impetus to our nation-building effort But 25 years later… …South African rugby is still embroiled in the politics of race Politics can never be separated from sport I think we are more divided at this stage than we were then Almost 90% of South Africans are black or mixed-race… …yet they remain the minority in the Springboks, the national rugby team In an attempt to get more black players into the top tier of the game… …South Africa’s government introduced quotas… …to force coaches to pick black players But it’s a controversial strategy Chester Williams was one of the first black players… …to ever represent the Springboks Definitely, quota means to me opportunity Peter de Villiers was South Africa’s first black coach I don’t think quotas is your solution Both grew up in the black township of Paarl… …but they feel very differently about quotas Historically rugby is supposed to be played only by white people Because of apartheid only the white people are selected for the Springbok team I always wanted to be a Springbok myself Chester Williams was the only black player… …in the famous Mandela 1995 World Cup winning side He inspired millions of South Africans All I wanted was that opportunity so I can prove to the world… …that black people can also play rugby I represent not only myself but I represent… …my community, I represent black people in South Africa After retiring in 2000… …Chester became a coach at the University of Western Cape Being a so-called black or coloured player in South Africa… …was challenging at times I remember vividly they stopped me from going to have dinner… …because I was the only black guy in the team… …and at that time we were not allowed to dine with the white people Securing a spot on the Springboks side wasn’t easy You had to train twice as hard as the privileged guy… …because you have to prove every single time… …why you need to be in the team… …even though you’re scoring more tries than anyone else That’s why Chester believes that quotas are still needed… …to ensure black players get into the national sport If you don’t have the quota system then people won’t change… …and players won’t come through the system And in doing that we are seeing a lot of… …black kids getting opportunities to play for the Springboks Since the 1995 win… …the Springboks team has incrementally become more balanced And the Springboks selected more black and mixed-race players… …than ever before in 2018 But quotas not always popular In a recent poll 82% of black South Africans… …said that players should be picked solely on merit And the perception that so-called quota players… …don’t deserve to be selected is damaging While I was playing I mean people would call me a quota player It was almost like a smack in the face… …that you’re not good enough to play there… …but you’re selected only because of the colour of your skin I can assure you we will carry 50m people in our hearts As South Africa’s first black coach… …Peter de Villiers’ appointment was mired in allegations… …that it was politically motivated They couldn’t handle that somebody of colour… …would be at the helm of rugby They never thought that it would happen The last bastion of apartheid was rugby So they tried to keep the game exclusive for them He felt the significance of his appointment stretched far beyond sport The overwhelming responsibility of getting this job… …was born from the fact that we died in the street, you know One of my friends was shot next to me during the apartheid years… …when we were fighting for our freedom in the streets And those things placed a huge, huge portion of pressure on my back Unlike Chester, Peter believes that quotas are not the way to get… …South Africa’s rugby team to better reflect the make-up of society I don’t think quotas is your solution What bothers me a lot about quotas at this moment is the fact… …there’s no end period, no nothing The most ambitious target yet has been set for 2019… …that 50% of Springbok players… …appearing over the course of the season are black… …this includes the World Cup squad When I was a coach I never looked at quotas, I never looked at race The one thing that was very important for me—potential One thing on which Chester and Peter both agree… …is that the best way to nurture potential of black players… …is to do so within their communities I believe that we need to start it at a younger age… …it should be done at school level and at provincial level… …to make it easier for coaches to select those players I would like to see that coming in the next ten years, maybe say… …South Africa gets selected not because of the colour of their skin… …but they get selected because they’re South Africans They go now to these townships… …find the best talent, remove them from that place… …and put it in their schools Wouldn’t it be better… …if they upskilled those guys where they are? And at the level playing field you can see… …who really is the best Rugby’s struggle to transform is seen by some as… …a metaphor for disillusionment among black people… …who gained political, but not economic, freedom after apartheid I am still surprised because… …to see that people are still talking about quotas… …because it’s 25 years since unification you know… …and in sport we should have gone long past that There was no repentance for apartheid So those who tried to forgive, what did they forgive? Who did they forgive? So this conversation, for another 25 years, will still go on

100 Comments on “South Africa: rugby’s race problem | The Economist”

  1. Some of you have noticed an error in this film. We incorrectly said that Chester Williams and Peter de Villiers both grew up "in the black township of Paarl". We have now changed this line to say they both grew up "in townships in Paarl". Thank you for flagging our mistake—a corrected version of the film is being uploaded.

  2. It is likely that after this World Cup win, the concept of race quotas will become a non-issue, as the issue they are meant to address will pass into history.

  3. This is the past and irrelevant now. This British media outlet should focus on its own country’s problems with racism and nationalism.

  4. What a kak coach. Rassie chose the best players black or white and got the job done and the whole team black or white are LEGENDS. What we do in life echoes in eternity!!!

  5. If you want to say the link between sport and society , then change society. You arent going to do that unless its organic, so quotas just seem stupid.

  6. I remember when this black guy become the Coach of SpringBok. bruh !! they were so badddddd. The team were bad during his time but that’s how it is

  7. Anyone who thinks that there should be quotas for anything in life is a loser, straight up. If the end product is superb, it doesn’t matter if the team is made up of all black, white, or purple players, just win baby!

  8. The mere fact that there is much attention on a game played (Consistently) by less than 10 nations, tells you how FUCKED that country is. Everything else is failing. This isn't some fucking rush hour movie made up bullshit. Power cuts. People are being left to die in hospitals due to lack of resources. The state airliner company has failed. THERE IS NOW A DANGEROUS WATER CRISIS. yet the focus is on rugby? Is that fucking mental illness or what? The springboks are focussed on because its the very last functioning thing, and its white. fuck this country. Mense trek aseblief voor dit te laat is.

  9. The verdict is out on racial discrimination in all its forms… including quotas. The collapse of the South African economy is proof of that.

    Race-baiters be gone!

  10. Let’s face the thrush….The only reason SA Rugby haven’t got the opportunity to take players from all walks of life is because the current government have robbed the people of their opportunities because of their greed and corruption.

  11. I don't think people should be let onto the national team solely or primarily because they are black. The black people that are good enough make it in the team.

  12. Uhm who are you I'm in SA and have you looked at the race issues in developed countries. Well done proudly South African 🌍💕

  13. Yes Liberals are to blame for all this race bullshit. It should ONLY BE THE BEST PLAYERS that get to play…regardless or race.

  14. I'm a white South African and I haven't had problems with any race in South Africa except for mainstream media and their BULLSHIT.

  15. Now its apartheid again. Everything is apartheid. Almost all the new black players weren’t even born in apartheid?

  16. Mapimpi never entered the system like Kolisi or Am. His story is one that i really respect. Not taking anything from Kolisi or Am but they went to very good school's once they were scouted, Mapimpi didn't.

  17. Bad reporting from the Economists. They use population stats, but no rugby players stats. What proportion of rugby players are white, black, indian an colloured? You could easily got this stats from SA Rugby.

  18. Poor old pathetic bitter pieter de villiers, at least the propaganda touting economist gave him a bit of airtime…what a loser!

  19. Blacks need to quit this crying habit of Racism rant.. If you are talented you will be picked.. Even America, European are taking black players in every game.. They are showing you respect giving opportunity.. But you always shout About Racism.. please stop it focus on your goals..

  20. Typical of the Economist: `Look over there, and ignore the racist mess we sit in the middle of.'
    South Africa is making great strides, attend to your own backyard, propaganda mag.

  21. No country in the world applies race quotas in sport. You pick your best team. Noone complains that the football team is almost all black.

  22. "With no quotas south africa would probably have been consecutive rwc winners since 1995"
    Friend of mine overheard an english national player say this………

  23. All the negative press trying to destabilize the boks coz your so scared they are going to win lol .oh and we did anyway lol waaaaa

  24. Chester, RIP, maar jy praat stront. Toe jy ñ Bok geword het, was daar nie meer Apartheid nie. Niemand het gesê jy moes twee keer so hard oefen nie, en dié ding dat jy nie saam met die wittes mag geëet het nie; is ook nonsies. Haai nee man, soeka wena.

  25. Wow even in Africa black people are begging white people to accept them do you guys have the ability to start your own bangs? Start your own black rugby team and go against the white rugby team play for your approval that would change everything that's how they did it in America parrot when they realize they can't beat you in a fair world they want you on their team it's simple as that.

  26. When almost all of the NBA is black with very few white, mexican and asian players "Oh it's fine"
    When 40% of South Africa's team is Black "We need moreee"

  27. The problem with us black people: wanting to be accepted by white people instead of creating our own stuff in our communities.

  28. this race thing will never end because it is far too profitable and politically useful for a substantial number of grifters

  29. 1. This video became irrelevant when de Villiers opened his mouth! He couldn't produce as a coach and proved he doesn't know anything.
    2. This video is literally hateful because it is stirring up topics that are very sensitive at the moment and it is actually doing more damage towards black players than white ones!
    3. We won the world cup and our black players made us just as proud as the rest! Does this mean we should pour in more black players? No! Why not? Because in the end if you want to win you have to choose the BETTER player! Your skin colour shouldn't matter at this point!
    4. The quota system should be destroyed! Why? Because every time a player of colour accomplish something their achievements are being questioned! Once again more damage.
    5. Yes i myself am white but I don't care what colour you are if you are the better player you should be in the squad!

  30. Education Awareness and Encouragement should be more focused than quotas systems!!! Everyone should be selected with respect to their skill training abilities etc not by their race , I mean all races …

  31. how tiring to have to go on about race all the time about everything money sex sport politics i rather live in the US than SA and the US is a shit hole

  32. Black people might be able to play rugby (and many other sports) but they are incapable of governing a country…….the present disaster that is the "now" South Africa proves that, as does the bulk of Africa. Anybody who disagrees obviously follows mainstream media and has no clue as to the real situation in the country.
    What black people are very good at, is corruption and ruining anything they touch…….and making more black people!

  33. I wonder how much of this is caused by some black south Africans not having the money for loads of healthy high protein food (to get and stay big) and good health care. If you don't have those things its hard to play rugby in a rigorous way, especially when you consider some of the info in the Economist's "Rugby World Cup: why size matters" piece.

    Fiji manages to do it without big money and health care at the grassroots but they are really, really special.

  34. The most popular sport in Africa and among South Africans has always and will always be soccer. In a township a dusty, grass less field will suffice for a game of soccer, try playing rugby on the same ground? Then there is size- most of the Bantu and coloured races in Africa are medium height and slight of build. They are runners and soccer players unlike the huge Polynesians. Look at other rugby national teams and the same pattern is discernible. Few huge black rugby players, plenty of Polynesians. I think that twenty five years after apartheid it is time to stop looking in the rear view mirror and face some facts. Merit based on on the job performance. Pick the best, advance excellence, create heroes and stop the racist BS the world has moved on.

  35. As was said at the end by Pieter de Villiers that this conversation will go on for another 25 years… If you are good enough then you can be selected if not you are chosen not by merits but another reason. This racial BS should stop because it has been more than 25 years and they still blame Apartheid for everything that is wrong in this country. There are people that want to see this country divided because of the slogan "stronger together" actually means our country will thrive if this racial BS is stopped. But that's only my 2cents (my opinion)

  36. The best players won the rugby world cup, both black and white. Show me one player better than Kolbe, Mapimpi, Mbonambi, Beast and Am

  37. To all the people who scream about the fact that NBA, NFL etc should have quotas, I think your right they should, they should have quotas of coaches that needs to be black to better represent the amount of black players that the leugues have.
    If the majority of players in the NFL and NBA are black but the majority of coaches are not, when coaches are often former players then you know that you have structural racism.

  38. It's funny how countries where worse atrocities have happened are more productive and better off today than south Africa is…… no one can give you "economic freedom" but yourself and your family… stop expecting the government to be your mommy and grow up and own it.

  39. Just don't complain when you lose. You chose not to pick players based off of their skill, but on the color of their skin

  40. So chester had to train twice as hard to prove he should be in the team ? Now you can be 100 times better than a black kod and not get the position you deserve .
    It happened to me and my brother it is fkn disgusting

  41. would have loved to see the Private school racial breakup vrs professinal players who made it without private school education of all colour groups.
    Also they never covered the head space of a talented player of colour who constantly was told "you are a quota" vrs "you are the best in possition, and how that effected there game.

  42. Quotas are to help a historically marginalized group. Even if its seen as an act of discrimination, it serves a greater utility of balancing the scales. Some of you talk about skills being the metric to he used but how will skilled black South Africans be selected if government doesn't give quotas? Quotas any day 😎🔥

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