Thought I’d share with you, in brief, the story of Cheeky Watson, 53, a South African rugby star who turned down playing in the (senior) Springboks as part of an anti-apartheid protest. It was 1976, the year of the Soweto uprising and the beginning of the anti-apartheid movement. Rather than join the Springboks, Cheeky Watson, along with his brother Valence, opted to play for Kwa-ru, a rugby team in the township of Kwazakhele. He affiliated himself with the ANC and South Africa’s Communist Party. Threatened with arrest by the Minister of Sports and death threats from others, Cheeky played on despite the huge impact to him and his family. Their house was burned down in 1986. Cheeky retired from rugby in 1991 without ever playing for the Springboks.
As recently as May 2007, Cheeky’s legacy and controversy continues in the form of his Stormer Super 14 star son, Luke, who was “pushed” into the Springbok’s roster by the SARU President, against the coach’s wishes. Story from the Independent Online. After this incident, Luke was finally given his first cap for the Springboks in June, playing against Samoa, but was injured in the contest and, nursing nagging injuries, was excluded from the RWC roster. Cheeky has chosen not to support the Boks in RWC 2007.
Blogs refering to Cheeky’s ongoing presence…in sports and South African politics
This is a religion… Survey says 70% of blacks in RSA now support the Boks
Cheeky snubs Boks
S*** and Other Unpleasant Stuff
South Africa Foreign Policy Blog