With the advent of the Rugby World Cup, it was an ideal time to visit the “Springbok Experience Rugby Museum”:http://www.sarugby.co.za/content.aspx?contentid=113444 in Cape Town. Fortunately it was just before South Africa surprisingly lost their opening game to Japan.
Set in a building overlooking the waterfront, we were greeted by a huge set of rugby poles on the lawn outside. The adult entrance fee was a reasonable 65 Rand each (£3.13). The museum was modern and interactive with over 60 audio visual displays where we could watch extracts from key matches, participate in games and quizzes and listen to famous players. You could also put yourself into a photograph with the team.
The rugby story is told from the start up to current times highlighting the problems the Springboks faced with the political pressure during the apartheid years. Although I’m not a huge rugby fan, I found this the most fascinating part.
There was lots of SA rugby memorabilia throughout the years: famous trophies, jerseys, boots and of course the smart green and gold springbok blazers.
There was a life-size poster of Francois Pienaar and Nelson Mandela and their famous exchange after South Africa won the 1995 World Cup: ‘thank you what you have done for our country’. ‘No Mr President, thank you for what you have done for South Africa’.
A short film explained what was happening rugby wise in South Africa at all levels and across genders. Finally of course there was the usual shop selling a huge array of Springbok merchandise.
On the way out, a South African guy held the door open for us and asked who we thought would win the world cup. My partner thought quickly and said rather diplomatically, that as we came from the host nation, he couldn’t possibly comment.
I’m only glad we didn’t visit after we were eliminated at such an early stage – we couldn’t have taken the ribbing!