Reflections on being an immigrant and South Africa’s Springboks playing in Brighton

(A version of this item first appeared in the Brighton Argus on Friday 18th September 2015)

The Tebbit Test was a controversial concept from 1990 when the former Conservative politician, Norman Tebbit, suggested that those immigrants to Britain who support their native countries rather than England at the sport of cricket have not been properly integrated into the United Kingdom.

Since democracy arrived in my native South Africa in1994, I have failed the Tebbit test miserably, and never more so than this coming Saturday when the South African rugby team play their opening World Cup fixture against Japan at what Brightonians call the Amex. For sponsorship reasons, I must call it the Brighton Community Stadium.

While the Tebbit Test is a complete nonsense, there is an underlying principle that I, as an immigrant, think is important – the need to respect the democracy, equality and human rights enjoyed in my adopted homeland.

How wrong it would have been had I tried to import the vile policies of apartheid South Africa. It would be equally wrong for any immigrant to seek to impose views that would curtail the freedoms, rights and dignity of others, such as through the imposition of Sharia Law.

What food you like and which sports team you follow adds to the rich tapestry of life. The fact that someone might continue to support India, Pakistan or South Africa at cricket is completely irrelevant. I am, sadly, a Stoke City supporter, but that does not stop me being a good Brightonian.

So come Saturday, I will be a proud South African cheering on the Bokke at Brighton’s wonderful Community Stadium.


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