Johannesburg – South Africans braved freezing weather to join in the ceremony to officially mark the start of the Unite behind the Springboks 2011 Campaign on Wednesday.
Today is exactly 100 days before the kick-off of the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in New Zealand, and South Africans this morning showed their love for the reigning champs by gathering at a celebration event at the Soweto Towers.
South Africans from all racial groups arrived in large numbers, proudly adorned in green and gold Bokke jerseys.
The fanfare was covered live by the SABC 2’s Morning Live. The Springboks World Cup bokkie mascot was also unveiled.
The bokkie mascot will move across the country, mobilising the nation to rally behind the team as it gears up to defend its title in September in New Zealand.
Springbok Sevens coach, Paul Treu, also got into the spirit, calling on the nation to do the same: “I urge fellow South Africans get behind our Bokke.”
Bokke player Bryan Habana said on Twitter: “100 days until the RWC 2011. Let’s get behind the Boks, wear your green and gold with pride.”
Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen, urged South Africans to wear the Bokke jersey every Friday until the kick-off of the World Cup.
Also unveiled at the celebration event was an anthem titled Let’s Do It Again, by award-winning South African musicians Freshlyground and Goldfish to accompany the Bokke’s RWC campaign.
The Department of Sport and Recreation earlier this year unveiled the Magnificent Fridays campaign aimed rallying and getting the nation behind the Bokke and the national netball team as they will be representing the country at global showpiece events.
The centerpiece of the campaign is Bokday, a call to supporters to wear green, official retail merchandise every Friday from this week until the end of the tournament in October, as well as on Springboks playing days, which include a Thursday, Saturday and Sunday as well as a Friday during the tournament.
The campaign has also targeted accumulating one million supporters for the Springboks on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/springboks, as well as providing other digital platforms through which supporters may register their support and win a trip to New Zealand or signed playing jerseys. – Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews