South Africans tend to bring the goods when it comes to national pride – anybody who experienced the 2010 FIFA World Cup would have a hard time denying that us South Africans have gees when it comes to our beloved country. Although Heritage Day was overshadowed by Braai Day in some circles, the 24th of September certainly should have made South Africans think about what exactly it is that makes us proudly South African.
Considering that the national showing at the FIFA World Cup is often cited as evidence of the fact that South Africans love their country, I will continue on the same theme – that of soccer. With the recent kicking off of the English Premier League, Facebook (old or new look) has been overflowing with passionate remarks and taunts, relating to these teams. While many of these comments are amusing, and sometimes just plain ridiculous, perhaps we should question the validity of so passionately supporting such far-removed teams. After all, the chances of us ever seeing our favourite team in action at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford are pretty limited.
It seems to me, that it makes far more sense to watch local ‘football’ – which would, after all, be a win-win situation as a strong domestic league is a huge step in the right direction in terms of being internationally competitive. Even though the PSL season is well under way at this stage and our largest derby (Kaizer Chiefs v Orlando Pirates) has occurred on a couple of occassions, people are still more focussed on whatever is happening on mud island.
People say that the biggest indicator of a true fan is supporting the team through its darkest days, and yet in the same breath claim that they cannot support South African teams as the standard isn’t good enough for them. Teams need support and recognition in order to improve and as long as South Africans refuse to actively support local teams, our national ‘football’ will be stuck in a rut of under-performance.
So, in light of National Heritage Day, I suggest a new approach to expressing our national heritage. Choose a local team and support them – they can probably do more for you and you definitely more for them.
And ask yourself: if you were arrested for being a South African, would there be enough evidence to convict you?