Bryan Habana has dedicated South Africa’s World Cup semifinal to teacher Zukisa Kela, whose last words were “Go Springboks Go” before being drowned by a gang.
Habana opened South Africa’s press conference on Tuesday by paying tribute to 25-year-old rugby coach Kela, who was tied up and thrown into a lake by a 12-strong gang.
Johannesburg social sciences teacher Kela’s last words have been reported as “Viva maBokoboko viva”, leaving the Springboks shocked — but once again hopeful rugby can unite their homeland.
South Africa face defending champions New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday, with wing Habana expressing his side’s extra level of motivation.
“To Zukisa Kela and his family after the tragedy that happened in South Africa, our thoughts and prayers are with you,” said Habana.
“He was tragically drowned in South Africa, and on drowning his last words were ‘Viva maBokoboko viva’, which is ‘Go Springboks go’.
“That passion and fire that he showed for South Africa, on his last moment, was pretty special.
“That’s something that we as a Springboks team were really saddened to hear about.
“To be able to see the support and passion he had for the Springboks makes the reason we play this game, the reason we play for South Africa and play for our country so much more special.
“To his family, friends, the school where he taught: we’re thinking of you, you’re in our prayers.
“Hopefully we can continue doing our country proud, and hopefully by doing what we do on a Saturday we can bring a country together, unite a country — and make sure that whatever happens back home people have some form of hope.
“So we’re thinking of everyone back home and from a Springbok point of view we’re going to go out there on Saturday and hopefully instil some pride back in this jersey.”