South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday the establishment of a public holiday to celebrate the world title won by the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup in France, but not before the end of exams in schools. Many in the country where rugby unleashes passions hoped to get an extra day off this week to savor the victory in the final against New Zealand (12-11) on Saturday.
This public holiday will finally be granted on December 15, Cyril Ramaphosa announced in a televised address. “This victory rightly calls for a moment of national celebration and recognition of our rugby players and their achievements,” the president said. “I know many of us wish we had a holiday now. But we should all agree to give our students time to concentrate on their exams and party afterwards,” he added.
In South Africa, the school year ends in December and most high school students in their final year started their final exams on Monday. Cyril Ramaphosa, who faces a general election next year, used his speech to paint a rosy picture of a country on the path to a better future, after the coronavirus pandemic, corruption scandals and an energy crisis which persists but which diminishes.
“We still have a lot to do. But like the Springboks, we have the determination and commitment to meet any challenge,” he said. The fourth world title won on Saturday in Paris by the Spingboks sparked scenes of jubilation throughout South Africa. Siya Kolisi and his teammates will return to South Africa on Tuesday.