‘Warrior’ Springboks parade World Cup through streets of Soweto
World Cup winners South Africa began their homecoming tour on Thursday with a victory parade steeped in symbolism through the streets of Soweto, the township near Johannesburg where they were once reviled.
The Springboks’ 32-12 victory against England in Japan has been greeted with joy in South Africa, where rugby was once the preserve of the white minority population.
Thousands of South Africans came out to cheer the national team that three decades ago was viewed as a symbol of white aggression as black nationalists fought the brutality of the apartheid regime.
Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black Test captain, held the Webb Ellis trophy aloft aboard an open-top bus emblazoned with “Rugby World Cup Champions”.
“Sport is the real tool that can bring all people together,” Vusi Cele told AFP, watching his “heroes” parade before him.
“We have all races here today,” the out-of-work 42-year-old added.
“If we can support each other through sport, nothing will stand in front of us. We are together as one for ever and ever.”
Another Soweto resident, Elizabeth, aged 80, said: “Today we are one. There is no hatred. I pray it will stay like that.”
Soweto is the home of two of south Africa’s biggest football clubs — (Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates). It was also the former home of Nelson Mandela.
Earlier the victorious Springboks — bar one notable exception — had been to Pretoria where President Cyril Ramaphosa joked he was less popular than Kolisi…….read more