Johannesburg - Protea fire! We’ve been having it.
Now, I don’t know much – or anything, really – about sport, as sports editor S’Bu Mseleku will tell you. I’m as quiet as a mortuary in Pofadder when the sports diary is discussed in City Press’ editorial conferences. But even I have noticed the great job the national cricket team has been doing in salvaging our national pride.
Their innings and 80-run defeat of the Australian side in the second Test in Hobart on November 12 was beautiful stuff, and had determined South African sleepers waking up in the early hours of the morning to catch the action.
Not bad for a team named after a bunch of “blomme”. Viva, Amablomblom, viva!
Which brings us to the Springboks. Unlike the cricketers, they have not been doing their bit for the nation’s feel-good levels. Their 37-21 loss against the English side at Twickenham, also on November 12, was embarrassing. I can tell you that I even don’t know the difference between a forward pass and a collapsed scrum.
Surely, they should have a slightly less threatening name than the Springboks? We could keep the emblem in the Northern Cape, which has an abundance of springbok, and call them the Namaqualand daisies, perhaps? Or we could draw further inspiration from the fynbos family and call them the Erikas?
Or maybe that’s a bad idea.
Any parent will tell you that you have to be careful what you name your children. It’s a theory called nominative determinism – that a person’s name could play a large role in determining their character and their profession. My name means “stubborn”, and my 1.87m-tall husband’s name means “tall”. We are well named, indeed.
According to this theory, we should perhaps then call our national rugby side the Magnificent Warriors in the hopes that they live up to that name.
Which brings me to Bafana Bafana. Even former president Thabo Mbeki complained that the nickname for the national football side was hardly inspirational. Boys Boys. On a continent that features the illustrious Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Elephants of Ivory Coast.
It’s a wonder that, with a name like that, the Boys beat Senegal’s Lions of Teranga 2-1 last Saturday.
If we’d like Bafana Bafana to begin a winning streak, we should perhaps rename them along the lines of the never-missers or those-who-always-find-the-back-of-the-net. But whatever we do, we mustn’t call them the izimbali (flowers in isiZulu). Right now, the only ones who can live up to – or beyond – their name are the national cricket side.
Viva, Amablomblom! Viva!