The Springboks' win at the Rugby World Cup appears in South Africa to mean more than just sport.

Well, it does for some. For some it carries the hope of some sort of new dawn, or new tomorrow. And maybe that's partially true.

I looked at Prince Harry in their dressing room - having turned down the opportunity to skull a beer, he simply said how impressed he was and he couldn't think of a nation that needed this win more than the republic.


The Siya Kolisi factor is a wonderful one. The captain's story has been told a thousand times over, and like all great leaders he hopefully is some sort of example of what's possible.

2019 Rugby World Cup: Talking points from South Africa's win
2019 Rugby World Cup: Sensational South Africa sweep aside England to win World Cup
2019 Rugby World Cup: The moment South Africa won the final against England and the Kiwi who had the last say
2019 Rugby World Cup final: Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus' stunning interview - 'Pressure is having a relative murdered'

But that's applicable in a lot of sport, and there is no shortage of rags to success tales of kids escaping poverty, violence, or some sort of deprivation.

That in many respects is the magic of sport, and it's ability to take a kid from the worst of circumstances, and through their talent and determination, transport them to a place dreams are made of. American sport is renowned because of it.

But the great fear surely is thinking a victory, as famous as it may be, is going to transform a nation whose troubles transcend sport. South Africa is a lost country in a broken continent. Not all of it, but a lot of it, too much of it.

Africa, as described in a documentary I saw a year or so back, is potentially the engine room of the world. If they stopped the wars, corruption, scandal, and demagoguery they would leave China in their dust.

I'll never forget meeting Thabo Mbeki in office hot on the heels of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was hope personified, Mbeki wasn't a patch on him.

He was a man more interested in how he looked. He told me of his tailor-made shirts from a place in Texas. Yes, he was beautifully dressed. But I asked in an interview with him just when the electricity were getting turned on, on a permanent basis, given all the promises the ANC had made post the Mandela era.


That question by the way got me in bother given it was asked when I was employed by the state radio business, and they decided it was impertinent towards a visiting dignitary. Shows you why I never stayed.

So Mbeki wasn't up to much. And to this day with the recently replaced Jacob Zuma, another crony mired in scandal, the ANC have been abject failures in turning South Africa into anything that resembles a place on the rise.

Parts of the republic are outrageously violent. This very country has large numbers of ex-pat South Africans - ask yourself why.

Sport can bond, it can uplift, it can offer respite and relief, and it can inspire. But it's not a miracle worker, it doesn't overcome corruption, bribery, scandal and graft.

Rugby might show a more advanced and evolving racial face. But as for the rest of it, the country needs a lot more than a tournament win to turn their generational mess around.