Tomorrow South Africa and the world celebrates Nelson Mandela.
The time is 1995. The Springboks host their first world cup. Part of Mandela's plan to unify South Africa post-apartheid, was to get the country behind the national rugby team.
Going into the tournament, South Africa were 6th in the world. Expectations were low. Despite this, they came together to defy the odds and win the Cup. The final, an epic extra-time showdown against New Zealand.
Momentarily in South Africa, citizens were able to forget their differences and celebrate their team. But was this really everyone's team?
The reality was that 14 out of the starting 15 were white, and with a country with only 8% white citizens, the job was not complete.
24 years on and the 2019 Springboks paint another painting. 7 out 15 starting players were from non-white backgrounds and the team was led by the inspirational Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi was born in Apartheid and grew up in harsh poverty. As a child he was often unable to play rugby because he had no food. Even with this hurdle, he managed to get scouted by a top rugby school and quickly rise up the ranks to the Springboks.
2020. Many South Africans still live in poverty. But at least there is a national team that can give all South Africans hope.
And hope is what Mandela wanted. He believed hope can drive people to do extraordinary things, as it did with the 1995 Springboks.
We thank Mandela for what he did for the world. We vow to instill hope wherever we can with this great sport.