Visiting Bloemfontein and Soweto: 1995 Rugby World Cup

We are moving house next week and I have been going through some of my old VHS tapes.

To my great delight I found a copy of a visit I made to two townships during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

My interest in sport in South Africa was kindled by research for an undergraduate research project at the University of York in 1973 supervised by Adrian Leftwich. I became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and met Sam Ramsamy. I hoped to go to coach in South Africa in 1977 but was not able to do so. I was involved in Sam’s United Nations work in 1978 and attended meetings with Peter Hain.

1995 was my first opportunity to visit South Africa, twenty-two years after I had worked my way through the papers of the Capricorn African Society and corresponded with Dennis Brutus. I travelled to South Africa as a member of the management team of the Welsh Rugby Union.

We were based in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. During our stays there we had the opportunity to run coaching clinics. I was fortunate to go as a videographer. My aim was to film every participant in the clinics.

I did produce a video for each coaching clinic. I used an SVHS camera and the copy I discovered was a second generation copy on VHS.

The first is from Bloemfontein and as you watch it you might have in your head the Circle of Life music from the Lion King.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found …

The second is from an unforgettable day in Soweto. I arrived there eighteen years after my first attempt to do so. For this video you might want to add your own mental sound track from Enya’s Storms in Africa:

How far is it from?
The beginning of the storm
The start to the end

I still find these images indescribable. I felt immensely privileged to be there for these coaching clinics and took away with me a sense of play that had everything to do with personal flourishing and very little to do with facilities.

I am really pleased I found them.

Photo Credit

Sunrise in South Africa

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