It was a win that unified a divided country We were united as a rainbow nation In 1995, one year after the country’s first ever multi-racial elections… …South Africa hosted—and won—the Rugby World Cup When the final whistle went and I looked around the stadium… …all different creeds and colour of people, they were hugging each other It adds impetus to our nation-building effort But 25 years later… …South African rugby is still embroiled in the politics of race Politics can never be separated from sport I think we are more divided at this stage than we were then Almost 90% of South Africans are black or mixed-race… …yet they remain the minority in the Springboks, the national rugby team In an attempt to get more black players into the top tier of the game… …South Africa’s government introduced quotas… …to force coaches to pick black players But it’s a controversial strategy Chester Williams was one of the first black players… …to ever represent the Springboks Definitely, quota means to me opportunity Peter de Villiers was South Africa’s first black coach I don’t think quotas is your solution Both grew up in the black township of Paarl… …but they feel very differently about quotas Historically rugby is supposed to be played only by white people Because of apartheid only the white people are selected for the Springbok team I always wanted to be a Springbok myself Chester Williams was the only black player… …in the famous Mandela 1995 World Cup winning side He inspired millions of South Africans All I wanted was that opportunity so I can prove to the world… …that black people can also play rugby I represent not only myself but I represent… …my community, I represent black people in South Africa After retiring in 2000… …Chester became a coach at the University of Western Cape Being a so-called black or coloured player in South Africa… …was challenging at times I remember vividly they stopped me from going to have dinner… …because I was the only black guy in the team… …and at that time we were not allowed to dine with the white people Securing a spot on the Springboks side wasn’t easy You had to train twice as hard as the privileged guy… …because you have to prove every single time… …why you need to be in the team… …even though you’re scoring more tries than anyone else That’s why Chester believes that quotas are still needed… …to ensure black players get into the national sport If you don’t have the quota system then people won’t change… …and players won’t come through the system And in doing that we are seeing a lot of… …black kids getting opportunities to play for the Springboks Since the 1995 win… …the Springboks team has incrementally become more balanced And the Springboks selected more black and mixed-race players… …than ever before in 2018 But quotas not always popular In a recent poll 82% of black South Africans… …said that players should be picked solely on merit And the perception that so-called quota players… …don’t deserve to be selected is damaging While I was playing I mean people would call me a quota player It was almost like a smack in the face… …that you’re not good enough to play there… …but you’re selected only because of the colour of your skin I can assure you we will carry 50m people in our hearts As South Africa’s first black coach… …Peter de Villiers’ appointment was mired in allegations… …that it was politically motivated They couldn’t handle that somebody of colour… …would be at the helm of rugby They never thought that it would happen The last bastion of apartheid was rugby So they tried to keep the game exclusive for them He felt the significance of his appointment stretched far beyond sport The overwhelming responsibility of getting this job… …was born from the fact that we died in the street, you know One of my friends was shot next to me during the apartheid years… …when we were fighting for our freedom in the streets And those things placed a huge, huge portion of pressure on my back Unlike Chester, Peter believes that quotas are not the way to get… …South Africa’s rugby team to better reflect the make-up of society I don’t think quotas is your solution What bothers me a lot about quotas at this moment is the fact… …there’s no end period, no nothing The most ambitious target yet has been set for 2019… …that 50% of Springbok players… …appearing over the course of the season are black… …this includes the World Cup squad When I was a coach I never looked at quotas, I never looked at race The one thing that was very important for me—potential One thing on which Chester and Peter both agree… …is that the best way to nurture potential of black players… …is to do so within their communities I believe that we need to start it at a younger age… …it should be done at school level and at provincial level… …to make it easier for coaches to select those players I would like to see that coming in the next ten years, maybe say… …South Africa gets selected not because of the colour of their skin… …but they get selected because they’re South Africans They go now to these townships… …find the best talent, remove them from that place… …and put it in their schools Wouldn’t it be better… …if they upskilled those guys where they are? And at the level playing field you can see… …who really is the best Rugby’s struggle to transform is seen by some as… …a metaphor for disillusionment among black people… …who gained political, but not economic, freedom after apartheid I am still surprised because… …to see that people are still talking about quotas… …because it’s 25 years since unification you know… …and in sport we should have gone long past that There was no repentance for apartheid So those who tried to forgive, what did they forgive? Who did they forgive? So this conversation, for another 25 years, will still go on