This country has a sad history. Moving South Africa away from its apartheid past has not been easy – the country still wrestles with significant racial issues and the effects of segregation are still painfully apparent.
The country is still divided along racial lines, with many black South Africans angry as they fail to see any significant economic progress, while a few whites are still hiding in their prejudices of the past, accusing the previously oppressed masses of having an arrogant sense of entitlement.
In the face of these challenges, sport has always been a uniting factor. Who will forget the joy that swept the nation when the Springboks defeated New Zealand to clinch the 1995 Rugby World Cup?
The same spirit engulfed the country when Bafana Bafana won the Africa Cup of Nations the following year. This continued during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, when South Africans of all races wore Bafana Bafana T-shirts in support of the national team.
These are but a few examples of how successful sport has been in unifying this country and it is outrageous that some people use it to divide the nation.
A case in point is a stupid racist tweet by veteran sports journalist Dan Retief regarding the Proteas’ victory over England at Newlands during the final oneday international in the five-match series, during which captain AB de Villiers scored an unbeaten 101.
Retief tweeted: “South Africa carried to victory by two white Afrikaners – politicians and media commentators take note – for what it is worth”.
This is disgusting and insensitive, considering the damage inflicted on racial harmony triggered by recent racial insults on social media.
Any sports journalist worth their salt should know that victory on the sports field can only be achieved through team effort.
Individuals like Retief, who thrive on sowing racial division, should be isolated and shamed.