In an address to the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa announced that in celebration of an electrifying win by the country’s national rugby team at the Rugby World Cup, there would be an extra public holiday in December.
Following Saturday’s exhilarating Rugby World Cup final match between the Springboks and New Zealand’s All Blacks in France, South Africa waited with baited breath as to how the country would be celebrating the 12-11 win.
“South Africans watched with pride and joy as our national rugby team, the Springboks, became the world champions for the fourth time since the advent of democracy in our country,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
“I know that many of us want us to have a holiday now to celebrate.”
He also commended the Proteas who are currently “performing well” at the Cricket World Cup in India, with the president noting that he intends to travel to Mumbai to watch the team in the finals.
Furthermore, Ramaphosa celebrated the performance of Banyana Banyana, the South African women’s national soccer team, in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and their progress to the knockout stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In celebration of the Springboks’ momentous achievement and the achievements of the country’s sports men and women – and as a tribute to the resolve of the nation – Ramaphosa announced in his address, “I am declaring Friday the 15th of December 2023 as a public holiday. We declare this to be a day of hope, a day of celebration and unity.”
“As a people, we have shown before what is possible when we are united, when we are determined, when we try hard and when we refuse to give up,” Ramaphosa said.
“Together, we overcame apartheid, ended centuries of conflict and gave birth to a thriving democracy. Together, we confronted and overcame the deadliest global pandemic in over a century. We are indeed stronger together. Our sports men and women have shown us what is possible. We will succeed and we will ensure that we leave no-one behind.”
After leading his team to victory, captain Siya Kolisi said in a press conference: “I don’t think that people who aren’t from South Africa understand what this means for our country. It’s not just about the game on the field. Our country goes through so much and we are the hope that they have.”
Prior to the news by Ramaphosa, a lot of assumptions were made that the holiday would be on Monday, October 30, but it was made clear with the announcement only scheduled for that evening, that it would be business as usual.
Social Media has somewhat mixed feelings about the announcement.