Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

The “exceptional” kaffirs and the love of sunshine journalism on race

Last Friday, South Africa’s leading liberal newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, ran an article about the racist abuse hurled at black members of the rugby team at Ben Vorster High, a former Afrikaans-only school for whites in Tzaneen, Limpopo. The abuse includes (present tense, because it’s possibly still going on) opposing teams and possibly fans (because the

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

It’s not rugby

Sport in South Africa is like a lightening rod for racism. No matter how many people trot out the age-old argument about sport being a unifying element in the South Africa, the truth is South Africans are...

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Yannick Nyanga’s Tears

Last week, before a rugby test match between France and Australia in Marseille, as the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” began playing, Kinshasa-born rugby player Yannick Nyanga began sobbing uncontrollably. It went viral.  Nyanga then...

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

African rugby isn’t just the Springboks

Written by Elliot Ross A couple of weekends ago, just before the Rugby World Cup final kick off, the French rugby team memorably faced down the New Zealand All Blacks’ haka. They joined hands and advanced towards...

Monday, June 6th, 2011

‘The Most Phenomenal Finale’

I don’t watch much rugby these days, but the final moments of the cup final the 2011 Edinburgh IRB Rugby Sevens Festival between Australia and South Africa a week ago is worth reliving.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Blue Balls

Last Saturday,  a rugby playoff match in South Africa was switched from the white suburbs of Pretoria to a stadium in Soweto. The move was required because the stadium in Pretoria was needed for the soccer World...

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Reviewing “Invictus”

A friend (he’s a filmmaker himself) emailed me his opinion about “Invictus,” the film in which Nelson Mandela disguised as Morgan Freeman conspires with Matt Damon to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup and absolve white people...

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Matt Damon saves South Africa

As you may have figured out my now (from my earlier post), I don’t particularly like the idea behind “Invictus.” I finally saw it and had to prevent myself from walking out of the theater a few...

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

That’s not rugby

“Invictus,” the Hollywood film based on Brit journalist John Carlin’s book about the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final–which South Africa’s team won in dramatic fashion on home soil against New Zealand, will be out in the first...

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Weekend Links

So as usual, a bunch of links–new as well as ones–that have piled up in my bookmarks folder. First, some good news: a Sudanese court only fined–but did not flog–Lubna Hussein, the woman who wore jeans in...

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. “Foreign Policy,”a magazine whose blog loves lists, recently published one on “The Top Ten Sporting Events That Shook the World.” Included among the list, at number 6, was...