Monday, 20 June 2011

Proudly South African!

There is nothing more overwhelming than being proud, especially of ones roots and heritage. The other evening whilst away doing interviews in George I was in my hotel room flicking through the channels on TV and came across 'Invictus'. The movie had already been running for a while, but having seen it before I was able to follow the story.

I found myself reflecting on that glorious day in our sporting history and it made me think how far we have come as a nation and what a defining moment that was. Most of you will have felt that emotion of national pride when we again took the trophy in 2007 as the titians of rugby and again last year when we waved our flag and welcomed the world to our doorstep for the soccer world cup. There is no better euphoria than being PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN!

If you've ever had the opportunity to travel abroad, one always finds themselves the biggest champions of their nationality when asked "Where are you from?" This past year in the USA was no different for me, but there was that extra bit of pride as we'd just come out of hosting one of the most successful tournaments in soccer history. At least most Americans were now familiar with where South Africa was on the world map and didn't think that we were near Afghanistan or Iraq.

Lately, South Africans have put themselves on centre stage with sporting achievements and having a key role in international politics. There was also the moment when an unknown girl from Benoni took the coveted gold statue at the Oscars, which is a moment I remember clearly watching it live in the US.

Here I sit at 30 000ft in a plane returning from a presentation in Port Elizabeth where I got to meet a returner Ndelike Nonose, who back in 2007, was a shy waitress and has now blossomed into a mature woman after being in the USA for three years on the Workaway program. She got up at the end of the presentation and spoke about her experience and how pride she was to be a South African working abroad. When she missed home she was able to go to places like Madiba's and Braai in New York where she got to have a taste of good old home cooking.
For most of you that will get the opportunity to travel on our program for the first time, embrace the culture of a foreign country, but wave your flag with pride and be proud of your heritage; there are a lot of people that have pioneered for where we are today.

Author: Andre Smith

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