Green and blacks: Should South Africa's national rugby team reflect the colors of the country or its players?

When Nelson Mandela strode onto a field in 1995—a year after the birth of South Africa’s democracy—images of him wearing the green and gold of the national rugby team became a stirring symbol of his commitment to racial unity. His celebration of the World Cup victory of the Springboks that year before a crowd of mostly white Afrikaners prompted chants of “Nelson, Nelson!”

Embarrassed, the government has stood behind the team and its conservative white coach, Heyneke Meyer. His response, under fire, has been to swear undying loyalty to the country. None of that has stopped the invective. One of the country’s senior black newspaper editors has sworn to support only the Springboks’ opponents during the tournament: a twist on an apartheid-era tradition among many mixed-race rugby fans, who to this day still cheer for New Zealand’s multiracial All Blacks.

Read more: Green and blacks | The Economist

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