Thank you Bafana

2010-06-23 09:28
Dear Bafana Bafana,

I am choking back the tears as I am writing this. Not tears of dismay or disappointment but tears of pride and joy and also tears of shame. Not ashamed for anything you did, but my own shame.

You see, after years of being an overly SA optimistic type, I became a very SA negative person - seriously considering my move to “greener pastures” in other countries. I had been hijacked and robbed and feeling like a prisoner in my own home just wasn’t cutting it for me. I was sick of the social divide and the hostility we all seemed to harbour because of our history. It was not ayoba.

But then you came, Bafana, you and your stellar performance at the Confederations Cup in 2009 and your 13-match unbeaten run with the win over Denmark to ice the cake. I had been annoyed with South African sport for years – but you rekindled a feeling that I seemed to have lost.

When the biggest sporting event in the world opened in our backyard and the sounds of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika echoed through the entire country, I felt so proud of what you had done for Mzanzi and I started to fall back in love with my country of birth. You drew the opening game and we all got our hopes up and we all started thinking that we could make something special happen. The loss to Uruguay wasn’t so great and people started losing faith, but not me. I flew my flag and I wore that yellow shirt that made me look like an oversized canary.

The task against France seemed an impossible one but with the team on strike, we couldn’t help but feel as if though we could make history, and we did. Despite not progressing to the second round of the competition, you still beat France for the first time ever. And you beat them with pride, like soldiers would. You went out fighting and playing your hearts out – and that is all we really wanted.

See, Bafana, it is okay to be disappointed but we are not discouraged because you have, after a very tough couple of months, brought us all together again. You have reignited our passion for our beautiful country – our diverse country with so much to offer.

Yes, we have problems, many of them but if you - one simple ordinary football team - can achieve such great things then what is stopping us from doing the same? Your performance in the 2010 World Cup will be the foundations for our future heroes and leaders – one that will inspire so many kids to follow in your footsteps and achieve great things.

So thank you, Bafana. Thank you for being so special and digging yourself a place inside of my heart to give me that hope I lost, the hope that made me forget that we can say “ja, no” and “just now” - and actually know what it means. You have reminded me that we have come a pretty long way since 1994 and while we still have a long, long way to go – we need to all just suck it up and do it. You’ve given me hope that, together, we can make a difference. Through the ayobaness of it all and through the heartbreak and downfalls – we have a chance to show the world that despite being a small country, we’re actually pretty okay and we have such a bright future ahead of us.

Thank you Bafana for uniting our nation, thank you for finally become more than just our national football team – thank you for becoming heroes to each and every one of us. I really hope that your achievements and your passion will translate to the powers that be and to the ordinary citizens so that we can make Mzanzi even more ayoba. While there will always be issues we all disagree on, at least we are all working towards the same goal. I love you for what you have done.

And if you are upset about being knocked out, well, at least you aren’t North Korea, or England…or Italy, there is always Brazil in 2014.

Much love,

Newborn SA Positive

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