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Tale of a Rugby Heathen

Tale of a Rugby Heathen

by Luke Mason / 23.08.2010

Behind the boerewors curtain disciples sit steadfast, silent in support of the green and gold. The service is about to start, the air heavy and devout. The barmaid, double chinned and bulldog jowled, pours and skulks, skulks and pours. A T-shirt bearing the slogan “Come have a few beers with us” is tented tight between her sagging boobs and a belly even Buddha wouldn’t rub. She sucks the expanse of her bottom lip against tobacco stained teeth, a hard bitch she is, a hard, hard bitch. I have stumbled like an infidel into a kerk of Castle and rugby, there is no one in here I’d like to offend.

A man with a pink, creased face, yellow hair and a blue collar hugs the altar, percolating in the strange theology. His pious, yellowing eyes swim in the Bloody Mary’s of absolution. When New Zealand is on the ball, there shall be no sound uttered, God will strike you down for such digressions in this sacred house. When South Africa breaks, so does the silence, and voices ring out with the vehemence of a heil to the Fuhrer himself.

I don’t want to step on anyone’s veldskoen, I want no part of any of this action. I do however, want to play pool. I tip toe around a mountain in a Bok jersey and an SAPS hat, eyes white with apprehension. Poppies hang from arms, arses swallow barstools, bellies sit on laps, a soutie feels mighty alkaline among the salt of this specific piece of earth. Sucking in my stomach I squeeze my way to the bar and ask the bulldog for the pool cues. Her beady-Dassie-eyes narrow.
“What did you say?”
I wonder if Trey Parker and Matt Stone know that Mrs Crabtree has escaped into the third dimension and is now serving drinks at the Elands Baai Hotel.
“The pool cues” I strike an imaginary whiteball with an imaginary cue, eyebrows raised, searching for cognisance.
“No” she says flatly, “not while the rugby is playing.”
I am in awe.
“Do you want me to stand and hold my heart the entire time?”
Her lips ripple into a half snarl. We face off. I know I’m out of my depth. Thick necks begin to turn in my direction. Oh fuck. I ask for a Black Label as politely as I can. I go and sit in the corner, sipping uneasily while commentators preach into my heathen ears.

At half time I slink out to check the surf. It’s still pure kak. I didn’t come all the way for this. I head back into the hotel but decide to give the bar the girth it deserves. I walk down a dusty corridor and into a dimly lit room. Lo and behold! People of colour! The sound of West Coast Afrikaans greets me as I enter. Complete racial separation. It seems I am caught between an exception and the rule – there is no room for white liberals here.

Although the room is more drab, the TV far smaller, further away and covered in transmission snow, the populous of the back room (or black room) are no less entranced by the sporting spectacle, and shouts of “vat hom” ring out whenever there is a hom that needed to be vat. The atmosphere is warmer, less militant, more relaxed. Smiles venture out without their shotguns. The dampened voices in the bar next-door can be heard through the walls resonating beneath the tinnier timbre of my new company. Good Old South Africa. Good old colour walls, as thin as ancient skin, impenetrable as Kevlar.

Some official looking black big-wigs are shown on screen watching the game from a private box.
“Kyk al die kaffirs daarin” a man smiles a gap-toothed grin at me.
He can see I’m neither coloured, nor from around these parts, but knows he can obviously break the ice with that old South African stalwart, invoking the dirty word, the ubiquitous hate of “die kaffir”. I do not smile back. It’s getting harder to breath in this cloud of testosterone and bad ideology.

Two minutes left and New Zealand scores a try that puts them within two points of drawing the match. Just as we saw happen in the soccer when Bafana Bafana caught Uruguayan stick, seats begin to empty. Black and non-black lips fall to black and non-black ankles. White and non-white feet begin to drag out of white and non-white doors. Probably a good thing, because seconds later the All Blacks take the match by jogging over an all-too-easy try. Not that I could give two fucks about either sport or the bullshit nationalism that surrounds it, but like death and taxes (neither of which have caught up with me just yet) South African fans prove as regular as Oprah’s morning dump. We builds the effigies of our “national heroes” with tooth picks and rainbow-coloured crepe paper and dance and sing and celebrate them in the sun. When it begins to rain, as it always does, and the giant dummies melt into piles of steaming streamer-shit, we take turns pissing on them and go home to beat our wives, or go to other peoples homes to steal their, better TVs in preparation for the next big game. God bless the rainbow nation, and the Leprechauns that guard it.

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  1. Mick says:


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  2. Lizzy says:

    this is a great article. thanks for giving me a chuckle on a monday morning 🙂

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  3. Phumlani says:

    Biggups on the article guy. but had your surname started with a W and had a T before the S the patents at the bar would have done more than just look at you. consider yourself blessed.

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  4. pastrami says:

    Tell it like it is. Respect!

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  5. Afrimoon says:


    maybe you should try beating your wife

    or make it easier on all of us, just leave

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  6. G says:


    maybe you should try beating your wife

    or make it easier on all of us, just leave

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Jesus Afrimoon… where did that come from?

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  8. The Red says:

    This reads like a fiction novel….maybe that’s your forte. Compes mentus.

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  9. Afrimoon says:

    Been to Elands, scored surf, got wrecked in the hotel – good people with good hearts.

    I woke up one day, in a new country, with new freedoms, with people getting along, the only stench coming from “piles of steaming streamer-shit” – neo-liberals who just can not get over themselves.

    “There is no room for white liberals here” – you did not fit pre-1994, you’re even less relevant post-1994.

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  10. Luke Mason says:

    Hey Afrimoon,

    I don’t owe you or your wife any favours. If you want to read puppy-dog-tales, wait a couple months, when Zumatello and his ninjas are finished with their tribunal, it’ll only be sunshine reaching you in your ‘new country’, wherever the fuck that is. I might be young, but if ignorance is bliss you’re one hell-of-a happy human being.

    Oh, and i know plenty of good people with good hearts who are still hopelessly racist. As far as relevance goes, do the math on your comment there buddy.

    Shot everyone else! Much appreciated! And Red, I think you may be right.

    PS i hate that line: “There is no room for white liberals here” it’s an utter piece of shit that i wrote in the early early morning, i tried to get it removed, but this article was up like lighting. For that, i apologise. Bad form on my part.

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  11. Afrimoon says:

    Hey Luke

    Overwhelmingly, I’ve been shot down, I take notice.

    Your writing – I enjoy your style.

    Yes – your piece smack of a white liberal laaitie – who will find as you get older (not much older) how irrelevant you are – globally. Always was, always will be.

    Ordinary South Africans do get along, with all their entrenched racism. Your anger, against what I can only guess is the governance of this country, is hopelessly misplaced at the locals of all color hanging out in the Elands hotel.

    It is also of no consequence, as the people you write about will never change, they will die blissfully ignorant while you rant and rave storm windmills.

    Therein lies the essence of your piece, it is insulting to these racist people with their good hearts, of all colors. It gives no insight, it only inflames.

    If you are angry about racism – good.

    If you want to insult the common man, these racist people with good hearts, take it up with the locals of the Ebay hotel, or wherever you find them on the planet.

    Otherwise you are, and will remain, the quintessential white liberal.

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  12. Bunny Gatsby says:

    Dear Afrimoon,

    Shove it up your ass.


    Bunny Gatsby

    p.s: this is a good piece of writing, an honest window on the weird. If you can do better, get cracking you smug wanker.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I dont get it.
    to start: if I was attending a show, and some of the folk you described in the first part of your story showed up and started playing pool while the bands played, I’d be pretty bummed. Would I expect them to join in and celebrate the music I have come here to watch? Nope. But some basic respect would be appreciated. I’m glad you did’n’t get a chance to rain on other peoples hobbies with your indifference.

    And secondly, how come you felt more comfortable next door where the racism was expressed more willingly? Or was the point of mentioning it to highlite your ability to cross the great racial divide?

    Lastly: As someone who admits to having no love for a game that did more to unite this country then you personally could ever do (maybe you can ride some killer equaity waves withthe previously disadvantaged and take a photo to upload to your facebook, or make a moving documentary about how mahala donates free surf boards or some shit) – your opinions on the topic are largely irrelevant.

    i cant work out which point you are trying to make: That racism is rife in our country, but that rugby breaks all boundaries, as evident by your visit to elands where on both sides of the wall they watched the same game, or that south africans suck at supporting local teams?

    This is after watching a game where over 90 000 people attended in Soweto to watch a traditionally ‘white’ game? Where guiness world records were attempted in an example of national pride, by flying more national flags in one place then has ever been done before? in the history of the world? That rugby, unlike almost every other sport in SA, has no iterference from government about racial quotas, because for once, in this sport: the best men for the position are the ones selected regardless of colour?

    Shjoe hey bro maybe you should hit some more sweet waves and feel connected with the earth.

    And this is coming from a surfer myself.

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  14. Luke says:

    Like todilly dude, you’re like todilly right, i should like, just go surfing on some sweet curlers for change.

    or not.

    It’s clear you don’t get it, and that’s cool with me, but ask me to explain. Read it again, maybe you can answer some of those burning questions in your heart. If you still don’t get it, go rent Invictus and watch Castel Larger advert re-runs, and like, todilly feel all like giddy with national pride.

    As far as transformation goes, are you seriously comparing me to rugby? Wow, I’m flattered. Don’t be darfed. I’m not trying to transform anything. It’s just my opinion, as you say. Irrelevant or not it certainly looks like you took some time out of your busy day to think about it. I appreciate that. I really don’t care if you agree or not. Even arseholes have arseholes.

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  15. Phumlani says:

    Biggups Afrimoon you got teeth.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    It just seemed to be a general review of ‘Meh, SA cliches, plus we suck’.
    That was so last generation. We’re part of the rainbow nation elite, and if you’re going to parade your cliches around town, at least give them a little foundation, or clarity, so I know which inherited opinion you are trying to find the most comfort with.

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  17. joeg says:

    this is excellent luckman!!!

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  18. noj says:

    bang bang….

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  19. felix... says:

    If we all maintained a ‘if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all’ conditioning we would be very far from where we are today and where it is we eventually want to be.

    And Afrimoon, us white/black liberated liberals don’t right pieces like this to change people like you, but to raise awareness. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that you were even dexterous enough to work a modern piece of equipment such as a computer and keyboard AND auspiciously stumble across a contemporary forward thinking site as Mahala, let alone this article. The mind boggles.

    And ‘racist people with good hearts’? Really? That’s a contradiction if I ever saw one. Making you, in my irrelevant opinion, a big hairy contra-dick. Run along and watch your taped reruns of Sportfokus and leave us liberated laaities alone.

    Sick piece Luke! Boogie on brother

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  20. arnaud says:

    Well, at least this liberal laaitie is honest enough to admit he evades paying tax, whilst pouring scorn on the heads of those that probably do.

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  21. Luke says:

    Ooooh, tax burn.

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  22. Burp. says:

    Dear Luke

    I think you have never played rugby infact I know this because you are scared of rugby FANS bigger than you never mind rugby players……That is no ones fault dude.

    And if I chicken out 10min before the end of the match because things aren’t going my way atleast I was there for 70min+ supporting my team and not fantasizing about playing pool and surfing.
    Stick to writing and surfing your to soft!!!!..

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  23. Fart. says:

    True that!! Luke is just vommiting all over!
    Luke, why don’t you grow a pair!..

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  24. adcrrfvel says:

    YN5i2M pbcdcfklekfk

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