Order! Order! Boks receive heroes' welcome at parliament

11 November 2019 - 11:14 By Andisiwe Makinana
Thousands of Springbok fans, including MPs and parliamentary staff, gathered at parliament to show their support for the winning rugby team.
Thousands of Springbok fans, including MPs and parliamentary staff, gathered at parliament to show their support for the winning rugby team.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

"Order! Order! Order!" shouted National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise when trying to silence excited Springbok fans gathered around the Madiba bust at parliament to see the Rugby World Cup winning team on Monday.

A sea of green made up of MPs, parliamentary staff and visitors wearing team paraphernalia chanted "Siya, Siya, Siya" as Bok captain Siya Kolisi led the team towards the steps of the National Assembly, where a 15-minute meet and greet was to be held.

"Viva champions of the world, viva!" boomed Moloto Mothapo over a sound system in the precinct as players followed Kolisi towards waiting politicians.

The screaming, ululating and whistling died down only once Modise, who officially welcomed the team to parliament, started speaking.

She thanked the Springboks for making the country proud, revealing that she arrived in Tokyo just after the team had won the World Cup, and that she walked the streets of that city proudly as locals couldn't stop talking about South African players.

"Keep it up, continue to raise our flag high, continue to unite this country because if politics fail, our fallback is sports," said Modise.

"We are very proud of what you have just done. You have enabled South Africa to recall who we are. You have again made us able to forget our racial tensions, to forget the gender-based violence and to focus on that which makes us great as South Africa," she said.

In response, Kolisi, who was introduced to the crowd as "Captain Fantastic" and "Captain Spectacular", thanked South Africans for their support.

"You guys carried us through the last couple of games. We hope we made you proud and we hope we inspired you.

"We have beautiful diversity, just as you are here, and that’s how strong we are as South Africa," he said.

The team was scheduled for a further tour of Cape Town and some of its townships.


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