South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, in an address to the nation on Monday, declared an extra public holiday to celebrate the country’s Rugby World Cup win.
“In celebration of the Springboks momentous achievement, and all our other sportsmen and women, I’m declaring Friday the 15th of December as a public holiday,” said Ramaphosa.
The South African team claimed a record fourth Rugby World Cup on Saturday with a nail-biting 12-11 win over their oldest rivals, New Zealand.
Ramaphosa lauded their performance, as well as that of the Proteas in the Cricket World Cup, on top of many other victories in the sporting field.
These have united the nation, the president said, echoing the Boks’ motto, “Stronger together”.
The Boks have emerged as a rare symbol of unity in a country suffering from an energy crisis, a high crime rate, soaring unemployment, and financial inequality.
Ecstatic fans, who had hoped for a holiday on Monday to bask in the victory of their rugby heroes, will have to wait more than a month to get their wish.
“I know many of us would like to have the holiday now. But we should all agree to give our students time to concentrate on their exams and celebrate afterwards,” he added.
South Africa’s academic year ends in December, and students in the last year of schooling began their final exams on Monday.
The Boks will arrive back in South Africa on Tuesday to a hero’s welcome, with parades planned in several cities across the country.
Following his praise of the its sports teams, Ramaphosa focused on updating the nation on the progress being made in the country’s economic recovery.
This included developments in tackling ongoing power outages, fighting crime, and wider economic reform.