I have to admit that I didn’t believe in this Springbok team.
They proved me wrong in the best way possible.
Their World Cup-winning campaign was more than a sporting achievement.
Just like in 1995, there was something special about it.
Back then Nelson Mandela used Francois Pienaar’s team to reconcile and unite a country after Apartheid.
It was meant to be a promise of change and transformation.
But that change has been slow to come. And in the last 12 years since Jake White’s team won a second World Cup, that promise of change has all but disappeared.
This country is on the brink of economic collapse and divisions are as open as the wounds people inflict on one another with the daily violence in our neighbourhoods.
Inequality has grown and there seems to be no end in sight to people’s misery.
While winning seven games of rugby in Japan is trivial in the face of everyday struggles, it is still the story of South Africans succeeding.
We all know the painful history of our country.
How basic rights, opportunities and privileges were denied based on your race. How the Springbok became a symbol of supremacy, built on the backs of a repressed majority.
We know it so well that some of us can still not bring ourselves to celebrating this World Cup success.
But this is a team we can be proud of.
Captain Siya Kolisi embodies a promise fulfilled - a child from a broken home, who often went without a meal, who took his chance.
There are many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of kids in SA suffering like that right now.
And that’s the reason that Siya is front and centre of this team. He is not just an inspiration to his teammates, but supposed to be that same beacon of hope to everyone dreaming of a better life and a better South Africa.
I don’t pretend to think that this World Cup will make things right, but it should be a call to action.
And it shows that will the right spirit, hunger, cooperation, training, vision and leadership a successful SA for all is possible.
It’s something I’m really happy to see that coach Rassie Erasmus got. He really gets it.
And he hinted at the Boks’ raucous arrival press conference that this is only the start.
We have to continue being inclusive and nurturing to bring the best of our talents wherever it’s found.
For Saru it will mean taking grassroots seriously or we will miss out on our Makazole Mapimpi's.
It means seeing the brilliance of sidestepping shorties like Cheslin Kolbe.
These heroes proved their worth by becoming the first men to score Bok tries in finals, of which we won three from three.
It’s the standard that they set for themselves and for us.
And the lesson is that change can transform your possibilities into realities more amazing than your can even imagine.
But never forget that moving forward means working together and learning from your mistakes.