Madiba ‘saved’ the Springbok


CAPE TOWN — The Springbok emblem would not exist today if is wasn’t for Nelson Mandela, former Springbok captain François Pienaar said yesterday.

Pienaar was speaking at Mandela’s memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

The former president died last Thursday at the age of 95.

“I remember the ANC put a lot of pressure on Mandela to do away with the Springbok, because
of what it symbolised during apartheid. Mandela said no, the Springbok is a symbol of excellence,” Pienaar said.

Pienaar captained the Springboks when they won the 1995 Rugby World Cup final by beating the All Blacks in the final at Ellis Park.

Mandela was present that day and wore a replica of Pienaar’s № 6 Springbok jersey.

“We didn’t realise at the time what it meant when he pulled the Springbok jersey over his head in 1995. It started to sink in the next day and now you realise what it really meant.”