Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Well said young man
Roland Schoeman's letter written to Swimming South Africa in declining Qatar's R20m offer is testament to the hope that we all feel for the future of our country:

"After serious and thorough consideration I have decided to stand by my initial decision not to swim for Qatar. I have, therefore, given instruction that the negotiations after the second approach from Qatar to swim for them should not be pursued.

You will understand that this was not a simple and straightforward decision. While I fully understand the immediate financial implications of this decision, I believe and trust that solutions to this problem will be found within South Africa.

I am acutely aware that South Africa is where it is today because of the sacrifice and commitment of large numbers of people over many years. As well, that the stability and democracy we have attained thus far has not been founded on pursuing short-term gains.

It has been based on a willingness to seek long-term solutions
In making this choice I have reconfirmed for myself that it is of tremendous importance to me that I am part of the vibrant, challenging, frustrating, beautiful and above all hopeful country I call home.

Each one of my achievements has been accompanied by a tremendously strong sense of being an integral part of something enormously meaningful.

That I am an African - and more specifically a South African. Each gold medal award ceremony has been enriched beyond measure by hearing our national anthem and experiencing the unifying surge of joy and elation of the people of South Africa.

There is much that remains to be done to ensure that South Africa will be a haven to all its people. I believe that sport serves to aid nation building, that it has the ability to unite people and can be used to work towards the greater good of all.

It provides a vehicle that allows every person in South Africa to dream and to "believe in the impossible". I have a place to fulfil in this process.

I wish to thank the many role-players who have supported me over the past number of weeks. It has meant a tremendous amount to my family and to me. It has also reconfirmed for me that South Africa is where I belong.

While I am significantly poorer today than I could have been, I feel tremendously blessed that it is Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika that will be played if I win a gold medal."