World Radio Day

Francois Pienaar remembers the day in 1995 when rugby united South Africa

World Radio Day is on 13 February and this year celebrates the power of radio and sports.

Unesco spoke to former Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar about the unforgettable day in 1995 when South Africa won the Rugby World Cup, and under the leadership of President Nelson Mandela, united a divided nation through sport.

The World Cup was the first major sporting event to take place in South Africa following the end of apartheid.

We had no idea whatsoever that it was going to be so big, that our nation would rally behind a sport that was dominated by whites and hated by black people in South Africa.

Francois Pienaar, former Springbok captain

Pienaar says over the course of the 6-week tournament, black South Africans started becoming fans.

They came to love the game and the players who played for the Springboks.

Francois Pienaar, former Springbok captain

He says the media was central to keeping the public informed about the journey, and setting the right tone.

Especially radio. Because in the far outlying rural areas of South Africa, the townships, people would just have radio. they would not have had television - and they would have been glued to the radio listening to the matches and the results..

The aim of World Radio Day is to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and youth participation over the airwaves.

You can find out more by visiting the World Radio Day website.

Take a listen to the interview with rugby legend Francois Pienaar talking about the moment South Africa felt like a rainbow nation - united by rugby:


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