South Africa held and won the Rugby World Cup in 1995


South Africa hosted and won Rugby World Cup in 25 May-24 June 1995, and was the first major sporting event to be staged in country following the end of apartheid and the country’s advent to democracy in 1994.  Furthermore this event was the first in the history of Rugby World Cup in which every match was held in one country and the first World Cup in which South Africa was allowed to compete. South Africa was readmitted to international rugby by the then International Rugby Football Board shortly following the end of the international sports boycott due to the apartheid. South Africa participates in the tournament for the first time. In the final, held at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on 24 June, South Africa wins the tournament, defeating New Zealand 15-12. Following South Africa's victory, Nelson Mandela, the then President of South Africa, wearing a Springboks rugby shirt and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to the South African captain François Pienaar. This was a major milestone for the history of South African rugby which had long been an exclusively “white” sport.

Nelson Mandela hands the Webb Ellis trophy to Francois Pienaar in 1995

Bafana Bafana staged and won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 1996

South Africa staged the AFCON tournament 1996, and it was Bafana Bafana's first tournament since re-admission to international football four years prior to the tournament. The 1996 Africa Cup of Nations was largely viewed a defining event in South African football. It was the national team, Bafana Bafana’s second appearance in the tournament. During the tournament Bafana Bafana rose to the occasion, topping its group after beating Cameroon 3-0 and Angola 1-0 before losing 1-0 to Egypt. Bafana made it to the final round where they faced Tunisia. They beat Tunisia by two goals to one, and were crowned Africa’s champions under the guidance of Clive Barker. The match was attended by then President Nelson Mandela, who had become famous for his ‘Madiba magic’ throughout the tournament.

Captain Neil Tovey lifted the cup in front of 80 000 fans at Soccer City with Nelson Mandela at his side

South Africa won 2007 Rugby World Cup The 2007 Rugby World Cup was the sixth Rugby World Cup and was hosted in France between 7 September-20 October with matches being played in Wales and Scotland. The tournament was won by South Africa who beat England 15-6 at Stade de France, Saint-Denis under the guidance of Jake White.South Africa becomes the second country to win the World Cup twice after Australia. John Smit accepted the William Webb Ellis Cup from South Africa former President Thabo Mbeki in a scene reminiscent of 1995 when then President Nelson Mandela presented the trophy to François Pienaar

Captain John Smit celebrate with President Thabo Mbeki in France

South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup

For the first time in the history of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA),the World Cup was staged in Africa. Five African nations vied for the right to host the FIFA World Cup 2010 when South Africa defeated Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process. The 19th FIFA World Cup began on 11 June 2010 in South Africa.The first game of the tournament was between the South African team Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium, Gauteng, with Simphiwe Tshabalala scoring the first goal of the tournament for Bafana Bafana. Italy, winner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, was the main favourite. During his speech the FIFA President Sepp Blatter stated that “the FIFA World Cup is in South Africa.” Blatter went on to say: “Congratulations to the African population, thank you to South Africa that we can stage this World Cup here. A dream came true even if he's not here tonight, but the spirit of Mandela is in Soccer City.” The dramatic victory of Spain over Holland saw them winning the World Cup for the first time with the goal being scored by Andres Iniesta during extra-time.

• Anon, (2010), ‘The “1 Goal: Education for All” campaign also wins the 2010 FIFA World Cup,from Entreculturas, 13 September, [online] Available at, [Accessed: 12 May 2011]
• Anon, (2010), ‘World Cup 2010: FIFA President Sepp Blatter & South Africa President Jacob Zuma Declare Tournament Open And Hail Nelson Mandela,’ from Goal .com, [online] Available at , [Accessed: 12 May 2011]
• Anon, (2010), ‘Spain win World Cup 2010,’from The Telegraph, [online] Available at, [Last accessed: 13 May 2011]
• South Africa History Online. Bafana Bafana, SA’s National soccer team, wins the Africa Cup of Nations Final. [online] Available at [Accessed 06 January 2014]
• South Africa History Online. International Rugby World Cup Timeline 1983-2011. [online] Available at [Accessed 06 January 2014]

Last updated : 25-Apr-2014

This article was produced by South African History Online on 25-Apr-2014

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