During the 2017 u/18 Craven Week, hosted at St Stithians I witnessed the following:
The panel appointed to select the "Hero of the Day" made their decision and as Victor Matfield walked down towards the area where the announcement was to be named a female representative of Coca-Cola refused the boy selected, insisting that a black boy must be chosen. Her reasoning was that a white and coloured boy was already chosen and that it must be a black boy.
After a heated argument in the media area, I said that I will write an article regarding the matter and not attend the Craven Week any longer out of protest. After phoning a good friend he convinced me that my proposed action would do more harm than good as he is well acquainted with the black boy and the news would humiliate him and that he does not deserve that as he worked really hard to excel at the Craven Week.
However, the next morning I did confront the representative of Coca-Cola and said to her that she managed to reduce a brilliant rugby player to a quota player that needed the help of Coca-Cola to compete on equal footing with white kids. I also said to her she is a disgrace to rugby and sport and if I ever heard of a similar event that I will release an article immediately.
Today I received the following press release from a company responsible for the Craven Week publicity.
COCA-COLA CRAVEN WEEK – A STAGE FOR IDENTIFYING SOUTH AFRICA’S FUTURE HEROES
Premier youth rugby tournament, Coca-Cola Craven Week, has seen over 280 national team players come through its ranks. The tournament provides South Africa’s top U18 provincial rugby players a platform to battle it out in an action-packed rugby week. This year, the tournament will be played at Paarl Boys High from the 9th – 14th July as part of their 150-year school celebrations.
Coca-Cola Craven week is synonymous with showcasing the best of South African up-and-coming youth rugby talent and continues to be a platform for both national and provincial scouts to identify South Africa’s future rugby heroes. In 2014, Coca-Cola took it one step further by introducing the Coca-Cola Hero of the Day initiative, a daily award that recognises and rewards standout players who embody the qualities of a hero. To date, 20 players, including Springboks Curwin Bosch, Embrose Papier and Springbok Sevens player Mfundo Ndhlovu, have all been part of the daily heroes list.
“Puso Makume, Sponsorship Manager: Coca-Cola Africa shared, “The Coca-Cola Craven Week continues to be a great platform for identifying true youth talent. Since inception, the Coca-Cola Hero of the Day initiative has seen three national players from the tournament ranks. We are proud that our sponsorship has enabled SA Rugby in identifying rugby talent in the country. We have no doubt that this year’s tournament will be no different in unearthing even more future heroes.”
The Sharks flyhalf, Curwin Bosch, was discovered by a Coca-Cola appointed panel of experts and named the 2014 Coca-Cola Hero of the Day on Day 3. After a brilliant heroic display at the tournament. Curwin has since then gone on the represent the SA Schools team, the SA U20 team, the Sharks domestic side and the ultimate achievement of being called up to be part of the national team.
Blue Bulls scrumhalf, Embrose Papier, was discovered by a Coca-Cola appointed panel and named the 2015 Coca-Cola Hero of the Day on day 5 after a heroic display against Boland. Since then Embrose has played for the SA Schools team, the Coca-Cola SA U20 team, the Bulls domestic team and recently had a debut for the Springboks in a match against Wales.
‘Speedster’, Mfundo Ndlovu, was discovered by a Coca-Cola appointed panel of experts and named the 2014 Coca-Cola Hero of the Day on day 1 after a heroic display against a strong Western Province team. In 2015, Mfundo won gold in the Youth Commonwealth Games and now has progressed to debut for the Springboks Sevens team in the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens.
In addition to the remarkable talent that has been identified at the Coca-Cola Craven Week tournament, another player to look out for is the talented Wandisile Simelane, the 2016 Coca-Cola Hero of the Day for Day 2. Wandisile recently represented the Coca-Cola U20 side with distinction at the recent IRB U20 Championship finishing the tournament as the top try scorer.
Look out for the future heroes of South African rugby taking part at this year’s Coca-Cola Craven Week from 9 - 14 July 2018.
Be part of the conversation on Twitter – follow @CocaCola_ZA or search #WhereHeroesAreMade"
My Immediate reaction was
As previously I again express my dismay at Coke playing the race card. So many white boys are also identified at the Craven Week and not one mention.
Ruggas.co.za will not participate in this obvious racial discrimination and racism.
It is clear when I objected last year when a white kid was declined as player of the day and was replaced by a black kid on the insistence by Coke that Coke’s behaviour is nothing less than blatant discrimination and racism.
If this continues Ruggas.co.za will not attend any festivals sponsored by Coke and will publicly state my reason for doing so.
And on a personal note, I do realise that it is your income but ……………….
Answer I Received
With regards to this email these are the hero of the day guys that have gone on the play for the Springboks, none of the white boys that have been selected for the hero of the day have gone on to play for the Springboks. Did you see my list of player to look out for? There are loads of white, black and coloured players in that list.
Please supplu list with a the player of the day from the start
Answer I Received
2014 COCA-COLA® HERO OF THE DAY WINNERS:
- Keanu Vers – Eastern Province
- Shadward Fillies – South Western Districts
- Curwin Bosch – Eastern Province
- Lem Massyn – Gauteng Lions
- Mfundo Ndhlovu - Pumas
2015 COCA-COLA® HERO OF THE DAY WINNERS:
- Richman Gora – Griffons
- Xolisa Guma – KwaZulu-Natal
- Adriaan van der Bank – Boland
- Ivan Smit – Gauteng Lions
- Embrose Papier – Blue Bulls
2016 COCA-COLA® HERO OF THE DAY WINNERS:
- JC Pretorius - Pumas
- Wandisile Simelane - Gauteng Lions
- De-an Ackerman - Griquas
- Darren Adonis - SWD
- Khanya Ncusane - Western Province
2017 COCA-COLA® HERO OF THE DAY WINNERS
- Sebastian Jobb - Griquas Country Districts
- Dian Bleuler - South Western Districts
- Nkosikhona Masuku - Lions
- Juan (JJ) Van der Mescht - Sharks
- Santino Swanepoel - Lions
"One you missed for obvious reasons" and I highlighted Len Massyn who represented the u/20 Bokkies as did Wandisile Simelane.
Answer I Received
Yip, I know that he played in the world cup but the only reason why we mentioned Wandisile is that he was in the current world cup otherwise we would not have mentioned him. If JC had made the current world cup we would have also mentioned him with Wandisile. Why didn't JC make the world cup?
Phone Call I Received
Hereafter I received a phone call from the author of the emails where he stated that Simelane was also mentioned as he was the top try scorer in last year's World Cup and that Massyn was selected too long ago. My question was maybe the criteria used to include Simelane and not Massyn was ignorant, as loose forwards obviously will not score the same amount of tries than the brilliant Simelane. To me it was clear why Massyn was not mentioned.
On questioning him re a previous email which I ignored as it contained sub-standard players of colour which Coca-Cola deemed "players to watch" at the upcoming 2018 Craven Week.
Subject: Players that we have been given from the unions to look out for (with a list of players attached)
Maybe you must rather ask people who actually watch schoolboy rugby. Myself excluded obviously. But I do not want to get into an argument with you.
But the list supplied is a joke.
I am sure that you are right. I got the names from the coaches and managers. Some of the players I had heard of but a lot of them I had not. I think that the two players from the Lions plus Brandon are good, The two EP players are decent, Appollis is over rated and I dont know the other bulls player, then I wanted Small-smith and Wycliff from the Cheetahs, I don't really know the WP players. I am sure that most of them are incorrect. I am sure that you are totally correct that there are some of them that are not the best on display. The rest of the unions are so badly organized and so slack that we could not profile their players.
- Ruggas.co.za refuse to partake or give publicity to an event sponsored by people and organisations who are blatantly racist in their actions and marketing. Our coverage will be limited to the results and the actual play on the field. No Coca-Cola Heroes will ever be featured as it is obvious that the noble idea behind these awards was hi-jacked to serve a racist company.
- I do not name any boys implicated in this article as I do feel that they are not responsible for the actions of ignorant grown-ups and do not need nor deserve the tag as a quota.
- I do believe that quotas in rugby did serve a valid and fruitful purpose BUT do believe naming boys of colour from prominent rugby schools as quotas are ignorant and unjust, in other words, window dressing.
- I do believe that quotas on the base of your skin colour are no longer needed as the quality of the players of colour in the system is at the least equal if not better than those of their white friends. I would rather support a quota system for kids of all colours who are financially not able to compete on the same level as the more fortunate children.
- I do believe that people clinging to the old apartheid values are as stupid and harmful to the South African society than the people who are adamant to exclude white people from the said normal society.