New Hope in Hopelessness

by Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

It is difficult to overplay young Kagiso Rabada’s achievements on the cricket pitch.

In a country that so often epitomises American jurist and politician Earl Warren’s famous quote: “I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures,” South Africa needs Rabada.

Kagiso Rabada’s performance in the second test against Australia in Port Elizabeth, where he claimed match figures of 11/150 has seen him rise back to the top of test cricket’s bowling rankings. Rabada is unfortunately suspended for the remainder of the series, meaning that he will have to wait a while to build on his lead.

Juxtapose this with what is happening on the front pages of the papers, and that is before we talk about the usual suspects, the career politicians. The sports politicians have been busy desecrating the place of sport as refuge from being the theatre of “man’s failures”.

Sports politicians are attempting to compete with the likes of Rabada. The Committee of Inquiry is in full gear, hearing allegations and counter-allegations of how the leadership of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has competed for power, marginalised and victimised smaller federations and dispensed patronage to those within the inner circles.

Meanwhile, elections for the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) leadership hang in the balance because of one of the contenders for the presidency is deemed to be in “gross violation” of the rules set by international and African football controlling bodies, FIFA and CAF respectively. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which was set to oversee the March 24 elections, have pulled out.

You may be wondering what this had to do with faith. You may be disinterested in sport. However, we believe that sport is a window which shows us what kind of society we are gradually becoming, or worse, one we have already become: one where elites think that power is theirs to use and abuse as they please.

This mentality of greed and power mongering will in the long term rob young people, future Rabadas, of an opportunity to showcase their God-given talents. It is thus incumbent on the people of faith to remain vigilant and to raise their voices every time this type of abuse is recorded.

Allowing sports administrators to do as they please with the authority given to them, is no different to allowing party politicians to do as they please with public power and purse.

In both cases it is the grassroots that suffer from the neglect, while the politicians, be they sport or party hacks, grow fatter and ever more self-serving.

If our country is to have a future it deserves, whether on the sports field or in commerce and industry, then all of us must pay attention to how those who wield public power use it. We must never allow them to forget that theirs is a responsibility in the interest of the societal good and not for themselves.

If we don’t, we might just have to savour this Rabada moment because we might not have another like him in a long time.

Mr Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya is an independent journalist and former editor of The Mercury, The Witness and Sowetan and a senior journalist at many other mainstream South African newspapers. @fikelelom
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