There are three things Cape Townian's love: Table Mountain, Ajax Cape Town (the local soccer team) and the Stormers Rugby Team (also called the Western Province team when they play in local competitions).
On a cold and rainy night, the CIEE Cape Town Fall group took a trip down to the Newlands Rugby Stadium to see the Western Province take on the Sharks, one of their fiercest rivals from Durban.
For many of the students, this was the first time that they had seen a live rugby game or even seen the sport. As South Africa's most watched sport (and its most successful), it was imperative that the students get an outing and experience the local rugby culture. Boerie rolls (boerewors or sausage rolls) were sold at every stand, and "WP Jou Lekker Ding*" posters were being displayed by all the Western Province fans and at every tackle, the crowd cheered.
The rain tried its best to dampen the spirits of the supporters, but nothing can stop a Cape Town club when it is in the mood - especially if the rubgy is some end-to-end stuff. The Sharks had the lead from the onset although the WP boys managed to tie it.
Late in the game, the boys from Durban managed to seal it with a drop goal but that did nothing to silence the crowd. Rugby differs from football in certain respects: whereas football losses are taken personally, club rugby is more inclusive and as long as the other team played better, fans are content to go home with their heads held high.
The latest CIEE Cape Town outing managed to expose the students to another aspect of life in RSA. Sport is integral to national identity and nothing runs deeper than rugby. With the Rugby World Cup fever soon to descend on RSA, the Western Province-Sharks game was just a taste of things to come.
*"Jou lekker ding" is an Afrikaans term that means "You good/awesome thing".
Image courtese of www.livingmagazine.co.za