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I wish I'd hugged Madiba when he gave me the Rugby World Cup - Francois Pienaar

1 October 2020 12:22 PM
Tags:
SA Rugby
Francois Pienaar

The former World Cup-winning Springbok captain shares his personal journey and career on #Hanging Out with Clement.

Former World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar, who led the Springboks to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major tournament held post-apartheid South Africa was this week’s guest on Hanging out with Clement.

Pienaar gave us details on his upbringing in Vereeniging and the social stereotypes he grew into as a young person and how that changed when he went to university.

I guess when you look at those days, if you were born white you were lucky; if you grew up rich you were lucky. I was born white but not into a rich family. I grew up in a working-class family my dad was a steelworker and it was tough even though we always had food.

Francois Pienaar, Former World Cup-winning Rugby captain - Springbok

I have learnt quite a lot recently about unconscious biases, you never ask questions as a kid. You go to a white school, you speak Afrikaans and you play rugby which is your passion.

Francois Pienaar, Former World Cup-winning Rugby captain - Springbok

I talk about unconscious bias in those days. The kids were not allowed to be with the parents when they were sitting around having a BBQ, the parents are discussing sports and politics. The kids had to go and play, you were not allowed to be part of the conversations.

Francois Pienaar, Former World Cup-winning Rugby captain - Springbok

Mr Mandela’s name would come up regularly followed by terrorists, followed by he is a bad man, followed by if he comes out of jail this country is going to suffer and so that is the unconscious bias I grew up with as a young boy.

Francois Pienaar, Former World Cup-winning Rugby captain - Springbok

RELATED: 'The formula that I have is if somebody else can do it I will be able to do it'

Pienaar spoke of what inspired him to become a rugby player. He explained that sport was his ticket to attend university as his parent could not afford to pay for his tuition.

Both cricket and rugby were my tickets to go to university, my parents had no money to send me to university.

Francois Pienaar, Former Rugby World Cup-winning captain - Springbok

Pienaar says he has been a captain in most of his sporting career but he felt pressure when he became the youngest player and captain for the Transvaal Province and the move to being a Springbok player.

I have always been a captain most of my sporting.

Francois Pienaar, Former Rugby World Cup-winning captain - Springbok

I was sitting in my Johannesburg apartment when they announced the Springbok team on the main news at 8 o’clock. Your name comes up on the screen and it was just an incredible moment and then I was captain.

Francois Pienaar, Former Rugby World Cup-winning captain - Springbok

I was the first player to be captain in his first game which was very nerve-racking.

Francois Pienaar, Former Rugby World Cup-winning captain - Springbok

I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams that a sporting event could unite a country as it did and bring people hope and bring people together under the leadership of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Francois Pienaar, Former Rugby World Cup-winning captain - Springbok

One of my regrets, I always say I wish I could have hugged Madiba when he gave me the cup.

Francois Pienaar, Former Rugby World Cup-winning captain - Springbok

RELATED: Dad wanted me to be a teacher but supported my choice to be a lawyer - Ntsebeza

Pienaar was praised by former President Nelson Mandela for his leadership of the team and his attempts to reach out to all sectors of South African society.


1 October 2020 12:22 PM
Tags:
SA Rugby
Francois Pienaar

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