Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Role of Sport in Modern South Africa

Since I’ve realised that I’m an anarchist, I’ve become less of a fan of professional sport.

However, I don’t deny the fact that sport can be used as a tool for good.

Let’s take the ’95 rugby world cup in South Africa as an example

I wonder how much of the inter-racial love back then was sincere love for our brothers and sisters of other races.

A part of me suspects that some of it was just another example of group hysteria.
But that’s another argument for another day.

I was only six years old when the Springboks won that World Cup but I still remember the day like it was yesterday.

Even at that young age, I was already full of idealism. As I tweeted a few days ago, I think “World in Union” by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and PJ Powers will give me goose bumps until the day I die.

My parents organised for a group of friends to come and watch the final against the All Blacks at our house in Gholfsig, Middelburg.

As I recall, my friends and I didn’t watch much of the game. We were too busy playing rugby.

Despite this, I could swear I had a sense of the significance of the moment. I also felt an immense sense of pride about the fact that I’m South African.

I was one of the lucky white South African kids. My Mom was a Christian and my parents had both lived in conservative Middelburg for a number of years. However, despite these setbacks, they did not poison me with race-based hate. For this, I am eternally grateful to them.

Like many kids, I worshipped sport at that young age. I had massive posters of Chester Williams and Jonty Rhodes above my bed. They truly were my heroes. When I was fortunate enough to meet Jonty as a laaitie, I was too flabbergasted to even speak.

I’ll never forget how great he was to me.

But sport has changed since those days. It’s becoming more and more about the money. People’s involvement for the pure love of the game is dwindling.

Think about this: the Springboks of a few decades ago were paid with a steak and a beer after the game. From what I’ve been told, many of them still had day jobs.

Furthermore, I think in the current state of modern alienation/postmodernism or whatever you want to call it, some people use sport as a distraction from real issues.

I have great pity for the man who spends the entire day at work and then spends his “free time” watching men run around a field on TV.

I would much rather he:
a)    Took the bull by the horns and went and ran around a field with his real friends
b)    Questioned the fact that his life had been sucked away by “civilisation” and the quest for more paper (money).

Having said this, there are still things we can learn from professional sport. I realised this once again when I watched Floyd Mayweather fight Victor Ortiz just over a week ago.

As you may know, I was a boxing fanatic when I was in high school (1)

However, once I realised what a joke civilisation is I stopped watching sport. (2)

Despite this fact, I have always admired Floyd as an insanely talented and underrated fighter. I reckon he’s more gifted than Ali was. Yes, I did just say that. I wish Mayweather would use his talent for a decent cause though.

I think one of the reasons why Mayweather is underrated by some media is because he’s a bit of an arsehole. Mainstream media will probably never idolise people whom they perceive to be arseholes.

I saw a video of him burning money at a club a couple of hours before the fight. Call me a bleeding heart, but burning money while kids starve is a dick move.

It was after seeing Floyd’s idiocy that I began gunning for Ortiz.

I realised later, however, that a lot of this pre-match hype is staged. Promoters and fighters know that we, the public, tend to be attracted to controversy. Therefore, they create a lot of tension between the fighters prior to the bout.

So in the one corner we had Mayweather - an arrogant and selfish money-worshipper who didn’t give a fuck about anyone’s feelings.

In the other corner we had Ortiz - a tough-as-nails Mexican-American who had been abandoned by his parents but somehow still can see goodness in the world.

I should mention that Mayweather’s life has been no picnic either. But Mayweather wasn’t focused on the past.

He wanted to make paper and pursue the mythical “American Dream”. Idiot.

So by the time the fight started I was highly excited.

I wanted to support Mayweather because I know how great he is. On the other hand, I wanted to see Ortiz give the arrogant arsehole a pounding.

The promoters certainly did a good job of stealing my interest.

The fight began and I was impressed.

Mayweather was a pleasure to watch, although not quite as slick as usual. Perhaps his slower-than-usual reaction time had something to do with ring rust.

Ortiz fights with intensity. He certainly wasn’t going to let Floyd walk all over him.

Floyd sometimes uses dirty tactics to his advantage. For this reason, the naïve middle class members of society will probably always dislike him.

Some of the pre-fight footage showed Ortiz’ camp watching tapes of Mayweather's previous fights. Ortiz’ trainers picked up on the fact that Mayweather sometimes uses his elbows when his opponent is close to him.

Ortiz trainers noticed this dirtiness.

Presumably, Ortiz prepared for the possibility that Floyd would use dirty tactics.

Here’s comes the interesting part…

At some point during the fourth round Mayweather did use his elbow to whack Ortiz in the face.

Ortiz reacted by intentionally head-butting Mayweather in the mouth.

Ortiz denied the butt was intentional after the fight, but I think we all know that’s bullshit.

Having said this, I understand why he felt the need to head-butt Mayweather.

Ortiz isn’t stupid.

He knew he would have to neutralise Mayweather’s dirty tactics somehow. He couldn’t rely on the umpire to do this because Floyd is street smart enough to be dirty in a subtle way.

Because Ortiz has had a tough life, he knows that he can’t rely on “authorities” to do things for him.

No offense to my race, but a middle class liberal white guy would have probably gone crying to the referee if Floyd had used his elbow.

This is what anarchism is all about. We realise that crying to “authorities” sometimes doesn’t help. The authorities are there to protect their jobs and their own interests. They aren’t necessarily there because they give a shit about your wellbeing. Just ask any South African who’s ever been intimidated or ignored by police.

Ask Andries Tatane. No, wait. Andries Tatane was murdered by police. Many police (unfortunately) exist to protect the state, not you. (2)

On a much smaller scale, I have even been a victim of police intimidation and apathy on many occasions.  (4)

It’s unfortunate that liberals/pacifists have such a hard time wrapping their heads around this fact. There’s a simple reason for this: A lot of us don’t truly know what it means to be oppressed.

I love the irony in pacifism.

As Derrick Jensen says, “You haven’t lived until you’ve been chased down the street by a bunch of pacifists”.

Anyway, Judge Joe Cortez immediately stopped the action after Ortiz had head-butted Mayweather. Ortiz immediately apologised and hugged Mayweather.

Mayweather was pissed off, understandably, but appeared to kind of accept Ortiz’ apology.

After Cortez had deducted a point for the butt, the action got underway again.

But Ortiz wanted to apologise again.

Mayweather “accepted” the apology and hugged Ortiz back. As soon as they parted, Mayweather smacked Ortiz with a left and a right. And that was “all she wrote”. (3)

The look of shock and horror on Joe Cortez’ face on the replay is hilarious.

Yup, neither Cortez nor Ortiz was smart enough to see Floyd’s punch coming.

However, anyone who knows anything about boxing knows that the sacred rule is: “protect yourself at all times”.

It was incredibly naïve of Ortiz to think that Floyd actually gave a shit about his apology.

Yes, there are cases where you can display love and sportsmanship in the ring, but this wasn’t one of them.

My life has been a breeze compared to that of Ortiz and even I would never have been stupid enough to let my guard down in the ring with someone like Floyd.

What can we learn from this?

Quite a lot, actually. But here are the obvious lessons:

1)    Always keep your guard up.
2)    Do not believe everything people say or do.

I really admire Ortiz for being such a good guy despite everything he’s been through. His good nature is an example to all of us. It’s really cool that someone with his background can still believe in human goodness.

However, Mayweather did Ortiz a favour by knocking him out. Ortiz is still young with a good career ahead of him.

From this fight I’m sure Ortiz has learnt to never let his guard down when he’s up against someone as powerful as Floyd.

We, as anarchists, should also learn this lesson.

And that’s all she wrote.

(1)  The Joys of Being a Multilingual Whitey in South Africa, Mark Esterhuysen
(2)  “Deep Green Resistance” from a South African perspective, Mark Esterhuysen,
(3)  This is how Floyd described the knockout while reviewing the tape. You might want to watch this interview on YouTube. It’s hilariously cool.
(4)  I’m planning a blog post on my experiences of police intimidation and apathy. Please stay tuned.


  1. Even though I didn't know things to this great an extent, I liked how you put things together. A good article.

  2. Okay... (rolling eyes)... here are my 2 cents worth (guess you need it now that you're fired):

    WTF does your outburst on radio have to do with this poorly, schizophrenic written "article"? I truly believed that you have something enlighting to say about the world we/you live in today.

    The ONLY "nonrecognition of authority" I have experienced from you are the 5 middle fingers you wipped out during that radio broadcast... which was rehearsed and most definitely jotted down on a cheap paper napkin at a local drinking hole from where you ordered a Black Label!

    You wasted my time and unlimited bandwidth with your badly thought out ranting & raving on this blog.

    Next time: research properly and get a copywriter/editor to help you with your argument, as this was a weak attempt at TRYING to make a worthless statement.

  3. Most of you just don't get it, your heads are so deep in the sand or up somewhere else that you do not see the truth.
    I have worked for over 20 selling everything from cancer to alcohol and made millions for fat cat capitalists. People define themselves by what they own, where they live, what car they drive and not by what they do and what they leave behind. The Dalai Lama put it like this Someone asked the Dalai Lama what surprises him most. This was his response. "Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; He lives as if he's never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived"
    Good on you Mark, standing up for what you believe in takes balls and there aren't too many of those around these days.
    Please call me on 0824156674 I have an offer for you.

  4. well you got me to read this bullshit 'article'. so well done for that.

    you seem like a 'young dumb full of cum' guy who is disparately trying to get some attention. your blog reads like a grade 8 pupil's rant at a strict teacher.

    you say you don't watch sport, yet you seem to know a fair bit about the boxing world, or at least a couple of fighters. you wake up at the am hours of the day to watch two capitalist fighters put up a show. you're a confused hypocrite.

    perhaps you should become more hardcore. cause at the moment even my 16 year old son would think you're a little soft.

    (by the way - you're voice sounded terribly nervous in your little 'outcry' on radio. grow some balls.)

  5. Gus time you took your head out of your arse and realized the world we live in,

  6. Jy is regtig siniel en moet 'n draai gaan maak by die kop dokter. Ek dink jou ouers moes tog vir jou meer konsertief groot gemaak het. Het jy nie dalk bipolar nie!?

  7. Not the best article I've read, however little grasshopper, if your heart is true then you will find your path. I guess this is all a new awakening for you. I think positive things can come from it, but is it constructive to be so negative and angry? You can throw tantrums and be controversial but al you will do is attract more "haters" and "flamers"(just look at Charlie Sheen, although there are millions of idiots going to his show out of curiosity I think). Look t the problems in the world as you seem to have claimed and find solutions, be proactive in solving them. Any monkey can rant and eat his own poo out of anger - not everyone gets off their lard arses to do something constructive. That's my two cents, except for my fav parting wisdom - "You cry alone but laugh together".

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  9. I just posted the audio from your moment of glory.

  10. as an anarchist, how would you best implement your ideals? what are your views on socialism, libertarianism and unionism? at what level is the state necessary and what form should that take? what is your stance on property rights? what about the spillover into ethics and the rule of law? do you advocate moral relativism or nihilism? how do you solve the dilemma of inherited nationalism?

  11. you state that sport can be used as a tool for "good" and shortly thereafter recount an episode of childhood nationalism. seriously, nationalism and anarchy? you would put arbitrary geographical boundaries around a population in the name of liberty?

    you claim ortiz to be some paragon of amateur sport and mayweather as the embodiment of the inherent evils of professionalism. did ortiz only ever give his winnings to charity? did he box for the love of the game? did he never throw a round? can you account for every cent which mayweather earned and say that none of it ever helped another person? how do you arrive at your conclusion and extrapolate objective truth from it?

  12. hey man. i dont think being a white kid in the shithole of middelburg makes you qualify as lucky. LOL. If you knew a little more about the world, you'd see this is pretty shit. PEACE LOVE RESPECT AND NONSENSICAL ADOLESCENT DUTCHMAN DOGMA

  13. I think this article is brilliant and I find your passion really refreshing, rare and inspiring. Most people do not care or fight for what they believe in anymore. Its people like you who make a difference, people who are not scared to voice their opinion!