Silvermine and Nelson Mandela

Silvermine Ethics Biographies Famous People Social Studies Sports

As the Springboks prepared for their Rugby-Cup match against Australia (then the reigning world champions), President Mandela visited them - unexpectedly - while they trained at an old military base located at the Silvermine Nature Reserve.

The area is a beautiful place about ten miles from Cape Town's center. In this picture, we see the Silvermine reservoir on the right and the Atlantic Ocean beyond the hills.

Arriving by helicopter - on May 24, 1995 - Mandela surprised the players.  Enouraging them, he said:

You are playing the World Cup champions, Australia.  The team who wins this match will go right through to the end. 

You now have the opportunity of serving South Africa and uniting our people.  From the point of view of merit, you are equal to anything in the world.  But we are playing at home and you have got an edge. 

Just remember, all of us, black and white, are behind you.

Morné du Plessis later told John Carlin:

...what was amazing was the chemistry.  The players were drawn to him immediately . . . I looked at the players as they looked up at the helicopter and they were like young boys waving, so full of this...excitement. 

These guys had all seen a million helicopters before but Mandela...well, he had won their hearts.  (Carlin, Playing the Enemy, pages 184-185.)

Click on the image for an expansive view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 06, 2019

Media Credits

Image of Silvermine Nature Reserve by China Crisis, online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

LICENSE:  This image is licensed by means of Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

In short, you may copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the work, provided that you give appropriate attribution but do not suggest, in any manner, that the creator endorses you or your use of the work.


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