We have two South African approaches to racial differences, one ugly, one beautiful
The racial divide is certainly not confined to rugby or to South Africa, but it does exist in rugby and in South Africa.
We have two South African approaches to racial differences, one ugly, one beautiful. Obviously the desirable one is by far the better.
Both of them involve school teams - one at Under-19 level, one at primary school level. In both cases the players are all born after the demise of apartheid and its enforced division of people. Perhaps the more hopeful story if that of the primary school boys, the pikkies, for they are further from apartheid than the 1st XV players
Let's look at the ugly first so that we can go away with hearts uplifted.
Hoërskool Centurion, one of South Africa's top rugby schools, played Hoërskool Zwartkop, also a school in Centurion which is near Pretoria. The two schools are about 3 km apart.
The Beeld newspaper reports on the incident which boiled over after the final whistle of a game played at Hoërskool Zwartkop on Saturday when Centurion beat Zwartkop 31-16.
The player who is reported as being at the heart of the abuse was Dayan van der Westhuizen, a Centurion prop. Van der Westhuizen was born in Wellington in the Western Cape and was at Hugenote High School in Wellington and playing for Boland at the Grant Khomo Week in 2010 when the Blue Bulls approached him and he transferred to Pretoria and Hoërskool Centurion - along with Duncan Matthews of Hoërskool Swartland and Boland Under-16. (Matthews did not last long before returning to the Cape.) This year Van der Westhuizen played for the Blue Bulls at Craven Week. At the end of the Week he was amongst the 50 players chosen for the SA Schools trial.
The allegations contained in the Beeld report are manifold:
* that during the match, by players on the field and spectators next to the field, Van der Westhuizen was subject to racial abuse, including words such as k#ffir, h#tnot, mercenary and orang-outang, Cape c#on;
* that Van der Westhuizen and the Centurion captain complained to the referee who took no action;
* that at the final whistle a Zwartkop lock again called Van der Westhuizen a k#ffir;
* that Van der Westhuizen then hit the Zwartkop lock in the mouth;
* that general fighting broke out which included players and spectators.
According a Hoërskool Centurion statement, the school is unwilling to let the matter rest and that as a result the incident is subject to an inquiry by the Blue Bulls Schools Union.
That's the ugly one.
Ventersdorp is a small town in North West Province. Its most famous inhabitant was Eugène Terre'Blanche, founder of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), people dedicated to the prolonging of apartheid.
In Ventersdorp there is a small primary school - Laerskool Schoonspruit. The school had facilities for rugby, but not enough players. Across in Tshing there is a primary school with players and no facilities for rugby. The two came together.
But their own words, with pictures, speak louder than any words we can produce, and listen to the dream they have: If we can produce...