South African Expats are headline fodder yet again
Newspapers are businesses. They thrive on controversy and catchy headlines. They love getting people hot under the collar. And bad news sells. It also seems that expats who immigrate to Australia (or any other country for that matter) are good topics when they run out of other news.
The same happened this past week (or so) when a former big boy of rugby, Kobus Wiese was quoted saying he does not understand why we expats continue rooting for the Bokke in our new adopted country.
Let me state it clear – I did not read the article. Many years ago I would have. But now I do not have the energy to remember yet another password for yet another online site. So I did what most people do, I went to the Facebook comments to get the overall idea of the post.
Kobus Wiese, strangely enough, is not rugby to me. To me he is coffee. That makes him a top bloke in my eyes. I loved the Wiesenhof coffee shop at one of the Pretoria Makro’s, and I loved his coffees that he imported from all over the world.
Are we who immigrate to Australia, traitors?
Initially, I was taken aback by the headline of the article, that a cousin shared. I was saddened because some people keep thinking of us who have moved countries, as traitors. (Is there a war going on?) Could it be that family sees me as someone who fled, and did not have the courage to fight the good fight? Dear g#d! Who are we fighting with this terminology of being traitors, or fleeing from, or running away from? I do not run! I don’t look good running! I shuffle…slowly.
Can we still support the Bokke while living in Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand?
Anyhow, back to supporting the Bokke when you live in another country.
The comments on the post (I think most read only the comments as I did) were fairly fair. Many asked whether they must stop supporting the Bulle because they moved from Pretoria to Bloemfontein. Others said that there were quite a few All Black supporters at the matches and that many of those supporters were, in fact, South Africans.
Rugby, as I understand, has become a business. Businesses are supposed to give customers an experience and value for money. It seems that Springbok rugby gives their customers a good experience. (That is open for debate?) As long as the experience is mostly positive, customers stay loyal.
Many South African businesses understand this concept. Spur, Pannarottis and Nando’s have capitalised on that and just the other day we enjoyed pizza’s at Pannarottis in Currambine. We were served in Afrikaans. Why should the South African Rugby whatever not also do the same? Why can a businessman not see the logic in that?
These days I find myself talking about our (Aussies) boys, when asking who won a match. I know more AFL players than I do rugby players.
Dear Mr Wiese and Migrants to the Great South Land,
I have yet to meet a South African who left South Africa because the Bokke were playing badly.
Many left because they felt there was no other choice, others left because they wanted to secure a better future for their children and they felt Australia could give that to their kids, and some, like me, left because we wanted to see new things and experience the ‘overseas’ everyone was talking about.
One thing about the multiculturalism of Australia is that they do not take it personally if you do not support one of their teams. They understand that there is a history that comes with it. (They did enjoy it however when Japan gave the Bokke a lesson in not thinking you have already won before running onto the field. And made sure that we knew that they knew that it was a hard blow!)
There are some South Africans who are die-hard Bokke fans and will stay that way till they die. They proudly wear the green and gold and sing the Anthem with tears in their eyes. How wonderful that they are able to keep on doing what they love in a country that allows and accepts them to do so.
Then there are the expats who have also made the effort to get to know the AFL rules, who know who is going to the footy finals, and who the top players are.
Our new countrymen are stoked if you make an effort to get to know the AFL rules, do some tipping and are able to have a yarn around the toolbox talks about the latest scores.
As for me?
I look at the human side of things. I proudly shared the hashtag #HandsoffCaster when there was once again a controversy around her ability and possible unfair advantage. I got all teary eyed when Wayne van Niekerk made it look as if his competitors stood still.
I enjoy listening to Karen Zoid and Nianell and Chris Chameleon.
But, I was sad when our Anna Meares did not do as well as expected at the Games, and proud when one of our girls did well in the rowing. I also happen to think that the Kiwi’s make kick-ass adverts for their rugby team.
I tap away at Guy Sebastian and Stan Walker, who is from across the ditch and Jimmy Barnes who reminds a bit of Bruce Springsteen.
My DNA says that I am an African. (That is open to debate as well, as some may disagree quite a bit with me.)
My home is Down Under. My mum still lives in the Free State.
I live in a global village, and quite frankly, I will support who I want to.