Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Are we all South Africans?

Do South African Indians consider themselves South Africans? Or maybe Africans as Dr van Syl Slabert put it? I watched Twenty 20 world cup with interest when South Africa took on India.I don't understand the wisdom of supporting another country against your country, I guess that is how things go. Was it really a good advert of South Africa overseas to sea the Indian community supporting the Indian team against South African team on South African soil? Let me also add that I supported India when it was playing against any other team and I am glad they won.

When South Africa was unceremoniously booted out of the competition the Indian community was rejoicing as if nothing happened to what I think is their team. I guess they would be very sad if South Africa won that match. That is where my question is coming from, do they really care about SA sport or do they aspire to go back to India like Jews do? I don’t think so they are South Africans their roots are here. I think it is one thing to be proud to be an Indian but it is a different story when it comes to supporting your country. Most blacks in South Africa don’t like the composition of South African Teams especially Rugby and Cricket but I can’t imagine myself Supporting Zimbabwe or Kenya playing against South Africa because they are Africans and South Africa is still lily white.

I am not sure of their reasons but to me it was a strange behaviour, I think it would be very weird to see African Americans support Nigeria in Soccer at the expense of the USA in America. It is okay for Indians to be Indians no one can dispute that, but at least lets draw the line between patriotism and foreign alignment. I think South Africans who are left now are those who know that we are all South Africans, those who think otherwise have left already (Rathbone, Pietersen and the likes). Good for them, but for us who are left can we stop shooting at our selves?


Beenz said...

Hi Muzi! I couldn't agree with you more. I always get annoyed when all the SA expats who are now citizens of Australia (or wherever) still support the SA teams. Its one thing working overseas for a period, but if you have taken on new citizenship, then support your new country's team - you've made your choice, now live with it!

Muzi said...

Hey Beenz can you imagine English speaking South Africans supporting England against South Africa that is crazy. As for SA expats the least we say about them the better

Ridwan said...

Bra Muzi I hear you on this post. Kas Naidoo raised this issue too on News24 a couple of days ago.

I did not see the match or the South African supporters in question (I am in the US still).

I am a child of the 80s and I still find it hard to support SA teams.

Like you, I would have cheered anyone India played. This is particularly true if they were to play Australia, New Zealand, or England.

If India played the Windies I would of supported the Windies.

If the Windies played SA I would have supported the Windies.

When it comes to India (and having lived and worked there for 7 months) I am not an automatic fan.

I would have drawn my decision on who to support on who made up the SA team.

If it was typically white, I would have supported India.

Inside of this, I recognize that my politics still describes my patriotism.

And, though a half of my ancestry is Indian, I define myself as Black and South African over all else.

Still, when I don't support SA, in any code, it is not a matter of being unpatriotic.

Rather it is a patriotism toward the kind of SAfrica I want represented. An inclusive one.

Still, I am just uncomfortable with the manner in which whiteness still dominates.

And this is especially true of cricket and rugby.

I recognize that there are those who support foreign teams in terms that are not described as mine.

Where they do this because they are ashamed of SA I offer my absolute disgust.

Ours is a noble and great country!

We are all SAfricans you are right. And we have to deal with the past directly.

And in the tradition of our democracy I am committed to the principle of choice.

People, any people, cannot be compelled to be patriotic or to support SA over India, of course.

But in all, I want to believe that we can cover enough ground to make our teams representative of all too.

Peace and struggle,

Muzi said...

Ridwan you raise an important issues here when you talk about the freedom of choice, but in South African terms we will always be suspicious when a white South African leave south Africa to leave in London and when a black person (including Indians and coloureds) we won’t be as suspicious. I know prominent people who will choose to support other teams based on the politics of the game one such Person is Trevor Manuel who openly supports All blacks. But when the Coloured community fill New lands to rafters only make sure of the downfall Gibbs, Prince and company to me it is weird.

If the Indian community for them this is a political stance against transformation maybe I would be more sympathetic, but why India. If most blacks were to wake up and decide to support Zimbabwe (Cricket team not Mugabe) and whites support England all against our home grown talent would have a problem with that. We have our differences but I don’t think exposing ourselves to the world so negatively would take us anywhere. We should strive for transformation internally it is not Makhaya Ntini, Hashim Amla or Shaun Pollock’s fault that it is so slow they need our support.

Just like you Ridwan I am very uncomfortable with the whiteness of our teams, I watched the last three games of Bafana bafana and I was so proud to see that despite all the white boys choosing rugby and cricket over Soccer we still have white boys who can still play at the highest level. I sincerely hope that the powers that be can stop dashing our dreams of seeing South African teams reflecting us across all codes.