SPORT, it's the national religion. Transcending race, politics or language group, sport unites the country - and not just the male half of it. When a South African team wins, a cacophony of hooting, cheering, banging of dustbin lids, trumpeting on cow horns and fireworks reverberates across the largest cities. The national adrenaline goes into overdrive. Maybe even the GDP goes up. Just don't look too cheerful on the Monday morning after a dismal sporting weekend!
Sport, like no other South African institution, has shown it has the power to heal old wounds. When the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup on home turf in 1995, Nelson Mandela donned the No 6 shirt of the team's captain - Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner - and the two embraced in a spontaneous gesture of racial reconciliation which melted hearts around the country. A single moment, and 400 years of colonial strife and bitterness … suddenly seemed so petty.