#20YearsOfGold Celebrating Excellence in South African Sports
Here at Kaya FM, we have never been shy to celebrate and support South African excellence and this isn’t about to change as Team South Africa heads to Rio. But before we look ahead, let’s look back a bit.
Did you know that international sports boycott of apartheid South Africa ended as early as 1991?
When FW de Klerk announced to Parliament on February 10 1990, that Nelson Mandela would be released unconditionally the next day and that all political organisations would be unbanned, apartheid South Africa had few friends in the world. The country was suffocating under the weight of sanctions, sport bans and cultural boycotts. With the fulfilment of De Klerk’s announcement, the world began to thaw and allow South African back in.
The Gleneagles Agreement had been signed in 1977 by leaders of Common Wealth Countries to distance their countries, sports people and teams from apartheid South Africa. This also meant that competition with the country was discouraged. Playing in South African or against the country’s teams under apartheid, was as good as endorsing the segregation.
South Africa was banned from participating in the FIFA World Cup between 1970 and 1990. The country had last competed in the Olympics in 1960 when it was readmitted in 1992, scooping two silver medals (for the Women’s 10 000m for Elana Meyer and Men’s tennis doubles for Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval). Though excluded from the first two Rugby World Cups (in 1987 and 1991), the Springboks participated in the 1995 tournament, which they ended up winning.
With the dawn of democracy, came an opportunity for all South Africans, regardless of race, to participate on the international arena and show their excellence. Although South Africa participated in Barcelona in 1992, true South African athletic history that is not governed by racist segregation began in 1996, in Atlanta, Georgia.
As Kaya FM is behind Team South Africa for the Rio 2016 games, here are some South African champs from the past 20 years that we should never stop celebrating:
Elana Meyer – Silver Women’s 10 000m
Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval – Silver – Men’s tennis doubles.
Mariane Kriel – Bronze – Women’s 100m backstroke
Josiah Thungwane – Gold, Men’s Marathon
Penny Heyns – Gold, Women’s 100m and 200m breastsroke events
Hezekiel Sepeng – Silver, Men’s 800m
Llewellyn Herbert –Men’s 400m hurdles
Penny Heyns – Bronze, Women’s 100m breaststroke
South African Swimming Team – Gold, Men’s 4 × 100m freestyle relay
Mbulaeni Mulaudzi – Silver, Men’s 800m
Roland Schoeman – Silver and Bronze, Men’s 100m and 50m freestyles, respectively
Hestrie Cloete – Silver, Women’s high jump
Khotso Mokoena – Silver, Men’s long jump
Cameroon Van der Burgh – Gold, Men’s 100m breastroke
Chad le Clos – Gold and Silver, Men’s 200m and 100m butterfly events, respectively
South African Rowing Team – Gold, Men’s lightweight coxless four
Caster Semenya – Silver, Women’s 800m
Team South Africa has slowly been building up on excellence in the past 20 years and Kaya FM is behind them all the way as they take on Rio this August.
What’s your favourite sports excellence moment from the past 20 years?
Images via Wiki Commons.