“I am saddened by our Messiah complex as a nation! What makes a great rugby captain qualify for political office in our complex corrupted country?” This was one of the responses I received when I approached an analyst to write a submission for this week’s Friday Briefing.
They were referencing Siya Kolisi, who has managed to captain the Springboks to not just one Rugby World Cup win but two, consecutively.
There has been much reflection in the media on Kolisi’s leadership skills since the Boks made history last Saturday by becoming the only team in the world to lay claim to the Webb Ellis trophy four times since the Rugby World Cup was introduced.
In some cases, people have even gone as far as to punt Kolisi as someone who should be president. And while the Friday Briefing theme is a little cheeky this week, is it surprising in the face of poor leadership from SA’s politicians that Kolisi would be placed on a pedestal in a country where, instead of growth, we have seen decline?
In September and October, the Boks offered the country a short respite from the daily challenges of high unemployment and high inflation coupled with rocketing food prices, deteriorating infrastructure and ongoing load shedding (though South Africa thankfully experienced little of this while the World Cup was on).
Kolisi came to the fore after he was appointed captain of the Springboks during the political turmoil of 2018. Jacob Zuma resigned that year and was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa. A year later, in 2019, when Ramaphosa was elected president of the country, the Springboks would claim the Webb Ellis trophy under Kolisi’s captaincy for the first time.
By Vanessa Banton – Opinions editor, News24