Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi takes a selfie with a fan outside the City Hall on Friday. The Springboks are touring the country to celebrate their World Cup win. Photos: Matthew Hirsch
By Matthew Hirsch
Thousands of excited Springbok fans lined the streets for the Cape Town leg of the World Cup victory tour on Friday.
People flocked to the Grand Parade. Some came from their offices. Others stood on rooftops and balconies. Construction workers had a particularly good view. They all cheered the Bokke.
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Francois Engelbrecht, a fan, said that he had driven from Wellington at 4:30am to get a good spot.
Bertus Els from Brackenfell, who was in the front row, said he loved the team. He even met his partner, Muriel Bailey, at the 2019 celebrations and they are now engaged. He said he was particularly excited to see Cheslin Kolbe. “He’s from Brackenfell High School. We love Cheslin!”
Maphelo Soldati was with his son Iminathi. He had come off his night shift as a warehouse worker and said he couldn’t miss this historical moment. “These guys are uniting us. They are from diverse backgrounds,” he said.
He praised Siya Kolisi as a great example for other leaders and especially young people.
President Cyril Ramaphosa may only have declared the public holiday for 15 December, but many Capetonians turned 3 November into a holiday too. One fan said he had taken sick leave for the day just to see the team.
Cheslin Kolbe got one of the biggest cheers when the team was
announced on stage. “We come from different backgrounds and different cultures. Let’s stand together,” Kolbe said.
“Kaapstad salute,” said Springbok captain Siya Kolisi when he came on stage. “That’s the only Afrikaans I know,” he joked. “The support that rugby is given here in the Western Cape is honestly second to none. We want to thank you for standing united behind us. That drives us to be united as a team too. Coach Rassie [Erasmus] told us that it’s not about the team anymore, it’s about you.”
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis told Groundup that the victory was incredible for the country. “It inspires so many people, it demonstrates that we can be the best. It’s not just about sports, it’s about inspiring our country.”
“I don’t want to brag or anything but about half the team is from Cape Town. It’s great to see the incredible rugby talent we have in this city continue to do so well,” the mayor said.
The team bus travelled through the city centre before going to Langa and Bonteheuwel. They are expected to travel to Durban before concluding their victory tour in East London this weekend.