How Nelson Mandela Used Rugby as a Symbol of South African Unity

On June 24, 1995 at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium, South Africa won the Rugby World Cup 15-12 over its arch rival New Zealand. The match stands as a hugely symbolic moment in South African history. It marked the nation’s first major sporting event since the end of its segregationist apartheid regime in 1991. And in a masterful act of statecraft conducted squarely in the international spotlight, President Nelson Mandela orchestrated a show of unity in one of the world’s most bitterly divided nations, using the slogan “One Team, One Country.”

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