Plundering Trophiesby Molemo Ramphalile / 17.06.2011
Is Mahala read mostly by “uppity” blacks and white folk who would rather watch the Barclays Premier League and Spanish La Liga than the PSL? Maybe our readers are more arty progressives who find no value in watching 22 grown ass men kicking a ball around for 90 minutes? Maybe it’s just that this ”e-zine” is based in Cape Town, the home of the Urban Warriors and the alleged People’s Team? All I know is I was surprised by the conspicuous absence of anything on Orlando Pirates’ historic domestic treble winning season. Nothing! I mean no team in the PSL era has won three major domestic trophies in a single season. This is a very big deal.
And it could have been four by the way; it could have been a clean sweep, a perfect execution of Operation Teka Yi Nkwashu, had it not been for that uncharacteristic defeat against South Africa’s second greatest football club in the Telkom Knockout final. The final day of the league itself deserved attention, with all the possible permutations in outcome creating what was, at least in recent years, unprecedented excitement and tension, enthralling many a PSL fan.
Maybe I expected too much. Maybe I was the one being unreasonable? Nobody is obliged to write about the Mighty Bucs. There are other interesting things, outside of soccer, worthy of attention. But understand where I’m coming from. As a loyal member of the Happy People, I have become accustomed to the taunts from opposition fans about the lack of Pirates’ trophy success. I’m always reminded of cup droughts, the ten years since this cup or eight years since that cup. I am used to my team being labelled perennial under-achievers, labelled a disappointment to its fans, accused of having a dusty and less than impressive trophy cabinet (even though the ultimate trophy an African team can win sits in it). So can you blame me for wanting to soak up adulation on all possible fronts? After all the narrow-minded rants of cup-obsessed naysayers, we won your damn trophies, all in one season, what now bitch!?!
The thing is a lot of fans in Mzansi do not understand that cups are not all too important to the Orlando Pirates subject. Even in the harsh depths of a Pirates’ cup drought the countrywide support from real fans rarely wavers. We called ourselves the Happy People in a season where we did not win any trophy and continued to do so in subsequent trophy-less seasons. Happy People, not Sad Because We Aren’t Winning Any Cups People, Happy People.
There are people who became amaBhakajuju without having once seen the team raise a trophy. Not many teams, if any, can claim to be one of the two best supported in Mzansi even without consistent cup success. Don’t get me wrong, the cups do certainly make us happier, but cup success isn’t quite the prime determinant of our support. And the naysayers are mystified by this. To many South African soccer fans the Pirates’ fans behaviour is enigmatic. Their faith is resilient and belief insurmountable though their passion is volatile. The Pirates subject is difficult to understand. Unless you become one yourself.
It is hard to explain why I’m a fan of the Sea Robbers to people who aren’t because they just don’t get it. In a discussion about the circularity of belief, Slavoj Zizek writes: ”the reasons why we should believe are persuasive only to those who already believe”. So it’s simple really, if you want to experience a state of being like no other, then just believe, just jump ship and join the Happy People in their 74 year old crusade against all takers. To all other fans, particularly those of the black and yellow black and yellow variation, get off our backs about cup success because we have shown that if pushed too far the Buccaneers (or Bhakaniyas) will destroy everything in our path. Tse Ntsho!
*Images © Orlando Pirates & Sourced.