I haven’t been very patriotic lately. It may be the fact that I’m living so far from home that every time I smell anything resembling a braai I try and lick the air, or it could be the fact that when you are outside the snow globe you can actually see how dirty it is and it makes you sad.
Either way I haven’t been particularly kind in my writing about SA lately. The truth I think ist because I really feel sometimes there is very little to be proud of and even that seems to be slipping away quite quickly.
Enter the Olympic games . . .
Now I guess skepticism fills me during these occasions (probably more the fact that I want to pre-empt the disappointment of what I’m used to seeing from South African Olympians generally) but when I saw South Africa walk proudly into that stadium I couldn’t help but cry.
You see we are a nation that sends our men and women off with vuvuzelas! We are a nation who gets to the Olympic village and makes sure that there are enough flags for every man women and child in Britain to see!
We are a nation of fighters, we are a nation of being written off and coming back to kick Michael Phelps’s ass to the finish line!
We are a nation who are missing both legs and when they tell us we cannot compete we fight them in the board rooms and court rooms until we get our shot to compete as an equal and we make the world fall in love with us!
We are a nation of women who are mocked and ridiculed about their sexuality in every circle both nationally and internationally and we keep composed and quite because on day we will lead our nation into an Olympic arena!
We are a nation who were once told blacks and whites would never co-exist let alone rely on each others every stroke to win gold one day!
We are Chad LE Clos’s father talking about his beautiful boytjie! We let our emotions gush because we are a nationa that loves and lives passionately for each other!
We are a proud and honorable nation, one you dare not discount or disregard for we will make you eat those words one way or another! South Africa made me very proud this Olympics and very heart sore. I’m sure very few of you know what it feels like to be in a very foreign place (one where your home country actually doesn’t even exist on the map for most locals), the truth is when you know the feeling of every one back home, you know they are having a braai and a beer and cheering on our athletes whether they have no chance in hell or whether they are medal winners, those are the moments you miss the most!
South Africa made me proud these Olympics because they reminded me why I love this country so much, because it’s the under dog, because it fights and because it is eternally hopeful of itself and its people. Those traits are the ones we often forget and those are the ones that make me so proud of our nation.
Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika