Cape Town, Day 1

Monday, March 6

Springbok and SA Rugby, seems like a pretty good way to start our South Africa visits. Andy and Hans were gracious hosts, and we got our first exposure how rugby and race have been connected forever.  We ended the day at the opening reception at the Butcher Shop, where we also met Gabriel and Darius.  What are your takeaways from your experience today?

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Rooma and the “war jersey”

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30 Responses to “Cape Town, Day 1”

  1. Caley Says:

    I think learning about SA Rugby and their troubling past concerning race was a great introduction to the country as a whole. It was fun to play some games, but more importantly the experience got me thinking about race and how businesses are having to change their structure to accommodate new race regulations.

  2. Phil Says:

    SA Rugby was our first glimpse at the racial issues that still influence South Africa today. What stood out for me was the anti-apartheid movement in the lates 60s/early 70s. The Springbok team bus was highjacked at one point and driven into several cars, as well as tennis balls filled with explosives being thrown thrown on the field in protest.

    I realized during this visit that although South Africa had come a long ways since apartheid, race was and still is a large issues that continues to plague the country.

  3. Samantha Frapart Says:

    SA Rugby was a fascinating introduction into Cape Town, specifically as race relations are such a pivotal part of understanding South Africa’s political and economic state. It is clear that, regardless of what the museum attempted to illustrate, the post-apartheid race relations between white and blacks is still unstable. Our guide had mentioned that the Springboks have a goal to build a team made of 50% Blacks in the next two years, and I’m interested to see how the makeup of SA rugby will represent the changing political climate for Blacks.

  4. Sam Says:

    I spent a decent amount of time touring the museum the previous day, so it was nice to go back and focus on exhibits we skipped, or to rethink what we had seen with the context provided by Andy. Obviously, the racial dynamics in sport are drastically different than in the US (e.g. racial quotas for rugby and cricket), and it was interesting to see Andy and Hans grapple for the right words when describing the progress the organization and the sport still must make by 2019.

  5. John Says:

    I loved SA Rugby! Andy was so helpful articulating the vision for the museum and the challenges that a post-unification South Africa still faces. Symbolism seems to play an equally large role as practicality, and this was our first glimpse into the country’s immensely complicated racial politics.

  6. Linda Says:

    SA Rugby Museum was a great way to start the trip. I got an overall understanding of the evolution of race relations in South Africa concurrent with the evolution of rugby in the country. I felt that I missed some of the awe an actual rugby fan might experience when seeing legends and artifacts of the sport, but it was eye-opening nonetheless. This was the first place I realized that South Africans don’t pump the A/C like we do in the US.

  7. Bill Quach Says:

    I took particular interest in the Springbok visit after presenting on SA Rugby prior to our trip. I questioned whether I overemphasized the racial significance rugby played in SA, but was pleased to see that Springbok museum made the same emphasis throughout their exhibition. I enjoyed the opening dinner at the Butcher Shop and was amazed by the fast pace of the meal. It was also interesting to see the reaction of many by the white fleshed undressed sweet potato during the meal–it was a deviation from the butter and marshmellow laden orange sweet potatoes of Texas!

  8. Tyler Says:

    Getting the chance to walk through the SA Rugby museum was very cool for me. I knew almost nothing about the sport before this tour, and I felt like I had a solid grasp of the fundamentals by the end of the day. The timeline outside of the building that displayed the disunion and then unification of the national rugby teams through apartheid was especially interesting. At their best, sports really can bring people together.

  9. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Monday, 6 March: After two long flights which connected in London, I finally arrived to Cape Town to meet up with the venerable John W. Greeley. From the airport, we scurried to the Pepper Club Hotel and Spa to ready ourselves for the day’s activities. I quickly hit the shower, located an iron, and became ready to rock, as it were. The South Africa Rugby Union was first up. There, I quickly learned how pervasive the political climate was in South African culture and how the effects of Apartheid still loomed over the country despite it having occurred more than 20 years prior. The day was a blur after that. I think I spent most of my time overcoming jet lag and indulging in sush’ (FYI: “sush'” is the abbreviated form of sushi) before finally capping the evening at the Butcher Shop.

  10. Parnali Says:

    SA Rugby was a great and very real experience into the insights of Cape Town’s business culture. I was thankful that Andy spoke so candidly about the history and prevalence of racism, as it set the tone for our remaining expectations in South Africa. I was also extremely impressed with the technological advancements in the museums – from the photo booths to the interactive games to the audio capabilities (Andy could begin and end audio tours from his ipad) it was certainly one of the most impressive museums I had visited.

  11. Alana Says:

    Sports always has a funny way of bring people together. In the U.S., we’ve seen sports used in different ways to promote social messages, but rugby was a greater tool to actually bring people together. I appreciated Andy’s honesty as I tried to wrap my head around race in South Africa. I also thought the museum was well done – I liked the interactive games and the detailed history. I noticed the language of the museum was in American English.

    I had the opportunity to walk around the Waterfront before dinner with a small group from the class. The Waterfront was fun – there were plenty of restaurants, shopping and activities to do. I visited the Waterfront a couple of times during my time in South Africa and found something new during each visit.

    The butcher shop was a very nice restaurant. I liked how we were given an option to select wine. I thought it was a good meal with a great conversation!

  12. Nick Eyer Says:

    I absolutely loved our visit to SA Rugby. It’s one thing discussing rugby and South Africa in class, or watching Invictus from the comfort of my couch, but walking through the museum and reading through the history of rugby in South Africa gave me the chills, especially when viewing the statue of Mandela handing over the 1995 Rugby World Cup trophy to Pienaar. I was enjoying the museum so much I nearly bought the entire gift shop!

    After the museum a few of us ventured over to Camps Bay to enjoy an afternoon on the beach. Although the water was a bit too cold for extended swimming, the views of the seemingly endless ocean and rocky terrain were quite refreshing.

    Later that night I had a great time at dinner, particularly because I was able to mingle with a few of our classmates that I hadn’t known extremely well before our trip. Great food and great company – can’t beat it!

  13. Micah Says:

    While I enjoyed our visit to the museum and our rugby lesson, I found the academy itself most interesting. Having played sports my entire life, it was a different environment than I expected. Far from the cut-throat, competitive culture I anticipated, the headmaster’s soft-spoken nature and strong religious tone were surprisnig. It was clear rugby was not his number one priority. Rather, his focus was to mold his pupils into men of value.

    • Micah Says:

      Above was for day 2…

      Re: Day 1, the parallel histories of race and of rugby in south africa were interesting to experience (and hear from a south african’s perspective). I enjoyed walking around the V&A waterfront, which was stunning. We had a great dinner, though frankly, the steak could have used a little salt and pepper.

  14. Caroline Says:

    Although not much of a sports buff, I enjoyed our trip to the Rugby museum. I had seen Invictus when it came out, but you never know how accurately movies portray the real thing. My favorite part was how our guides explained that the movie was incredibly accurate- wow! It was then that I realized how truly important rugby was and is to South African culture and politics, and that the rugby World Cup wasn’t just a small part of the end of apartheid, but rather the key turning point.

  15. Preeta Maitra Says:

    I was impressed that our visit to the Rugby Museum started with a discussion about racial inequity in rugby in South Africa. This topic had come up in our learnings and discussion before we left for the trip, so it was great to see Springbok tackling the topic head-on. It was interesting to learn about how Springbok is working to improve these inequities and help get access to better education and rugby training to black and colored people in South Africa.

  16. Samantha Toth Says:

    I was impressed with how candidly Andy and the SA Rugby Museum in general addressed the issue of race relations. I agree with many of the responses here that it was an excellent introduction into the broader context of race relations in South Africa and the true transformations the country has made since ending Apartheid (more on how the lives of South African citizens have been affected later). I especially appreciated the background on what South Africans refer to as “colored” races (non-white and non-African), which also represent a large portion of South Africa’s citizens and who were also systematically discriminated against, in rugby and more broadly, as a result of Apartheid.

  17. Baoxin Says:

    It was interesting to visit the SA Rugby museum, which captures South Africa’s history through rugby; and it was a good start to be aware of the racial issue in the country and how sports took its role of breaking down apartheid.

    Moreover, until I went to Duringbaii, saw the glowed face with excitement of a 16-year-old girl when she was talking about rugby, and got a Springbok folding chair as present from my homestay mom, I realized how important rugby was for South African people. It is a sports game not only connects white and non-white, but also brings men and women, old and young together.

  18. Renee Weissend Says:

    I appreciate rugby beyond measure for its ability to connect the country for generations. What an amazing sport. It has such a far reach and has meant so much to the country of South Africa. I loved seeing the pictures of the players throughout the years and learning more about the game – from its origin until now. The team is changing with government quotas. It seems like there is some tension at the moment, but hopefully after the next several years, the game will be more popularly played by everyone and the team will accept the best players that mirror all walks of life. I never cared about rugby but now, if it is ever on TV, I will definitely watch for a few moments.

  19. Rooma Chi Says:

    The South Africa Rugby Museum was a great first introduction to the themes of race relations that were so prevalent throughout every company visit we attended. We learned that the history of rugby mirrored the conflicts occurring in South Africa. The issue of race relations continues to be complicated today with the government mandating a team composition consisting of 50% blacks and it seems like Springbok has a plan to meet that mandate.

  20. Kristin Johnson Says:

    The visit to the Rugby Museum was our first introduction into the tension between business and sport and the post-apartheid government regulations. It was very clear that while the regulations and initiatives have good intentions, they are met with much frustration by some members of the Springbok organization. This was a theme that we saw throughout the rest of our trip, so it is interesting to reflect on the first time that we encountered this sentiment.

  21. Moni Says:

    Our visit to SA Rugby was our first introduction into Apartheid and the symbolic role of Rugby in both segregating and later (attempt to) unifying the divided races. The museum was very technologically advanced and was SA Rugby’s own initiative to share the history of rugby. Andy controlled different parts of the room and sounds from his iPad. My favorite part of the museum was the display of names on the timeline outside the building and how it spotlighted the role of apartheid and segregation in South Africa and Rugby.

  22. Adriana Penalba Says:

    I liked the waterfront and the museum. This was my first exposure to being out in Cape Town during the day, and I was impressed by the natural beauty. I also thought the museum tour was a great introduction to race relations and government policies in South Africa. The Butcher Shop made me realize that I should focus on eating seafood and not beef while in Cape Town.

  23. Kavita Says:

    I wish I had taken a picture of the timeline that was shown to us! This one introduction to the history of SA was so helpful, especially since I hadn’t known too much prior to visiting the country. I also think that our hosts answered our questions about the government and funding very openly, and hearing this background of the organization really helped me get a better understanding of rugby and its impact on the country.

  24. Mansi Narula Says:

    I wish we had done this visit after playing and learning rugby. I would have been able to make more sense of the the players and game footage in the museum. I really enjoyed the timeline that our host walked us through as it gave us really good footing into what has happened to date.

  25. Swati Seth Says:

    The visit to the museum was the perfect way to begin the trip. It gave us great insight into the racial profiling that had been happening in the country during and after apartheid, both. We learnt the concept of being ‘Colored’ within South Africa which is different from what exists within the US. I was also slightly surprised to see the great role Rugby has been playing (having a unified team comprising of all races) in bringing the nation together after apartheid ended.

  26. Brian Murphy Says:

    I loved visiting SA Rugby and learning all about the history of the the sport in South Africa. Particularly interesting was all the different leagues that ended up merging at different times. Still the thing that sticks out most in my mind from this day – the tennis balls that were filled with nails and glass that people would throw onto the field during Apartheid. Insane.

  27. Lauren Busch Says:

    While I was expecting to learn a lot about rugby on this day, I didn’t realize how much I would end up learning about South African history as a whole. The two are so intertwined, and it was fascinating to see how they both progressed over the years, especially when it came to race relations. The museum was very impressive, and the fact that it operates at a loss shows you just how much SA cares about rugby! It will be interesting to see how the leagues changes with the new regulations regarding increasing the percentage of colored players on the team.

  28. Katie Thigpen Says:

    The rugby museum was fascinating. As an undergrad history major, I was so interested in hearing about the history of SA rugby and how it has truly defined and shaped the racial relations of the country. The museum was great–I especially liked seeing the uniforms throughout the years. Also, I was very proud of myself for completing the kicking simulation and getting the ball through the field goal (honestly have no idea if any of that terminology is remotely correct, sorry Orlando!)

  29. Natasha Mayekar Says:

    Going into the trip, I knew that rugby was an immense source of pride for the country, but today’s visit really showed just how much it truly means to the people of South Africa. Seeing the uniform change over time as well as how much the sport is interwoven into South African history was very captivating.

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