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The 23rd of June 2016 marked a significant milestone in celebrating the indelible mark that sporting giants have left on the hearts of all South Africans. Nelson Mandela, Hugh Bladen and the entire 1995 World Cup Winning Squad were all inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame alongside Joost van der Westhuizen and another 125 great South African sportspeople.

At a moving induction ceremony at Sun City, the SA Sport Hall of Fame paid tribute to these legends, reliving the triumphs and tears of that fateful day 21-years ago when the Springboks won so much more than the Rugby World Cup. They won the hearts of every South African and united us in a way that only sport can. It was former president and SA Sport Hall of Fame inductee Nelson Mandela who reminded us of this. Who can forget how joyful he was as Francois Pienaar lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy? What a joyful and triumphant moment in our history. The Madiba-Magic was commemorated and honoured as his granddaughter Ndileka Mandela received his honorary induction award on behalf of the Mandela family. His legacy lives on.

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A household name in SA rugby, legendary commentator Hugh Bladen was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for his 39-year contribution to SA Sport.  His unique voice, unsurpassed knowledge of the game and impeccable reputation for professionalism and passion has made him a Hall of Famer. An emotional ‘Uncle Hugh’ dedicated his award to his children – a testament to his selfless nature and belief in future generations.

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Donned in their Green & Gold blazers, the 1995 World Cup Springbok Squad was also officially inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame. Their remarkable story was relived and honoured in a moving speech by the former captain Francois Pienaar. He paid homage to his team standing beside him as well as to those who were no longer with us. It was a fitting message that embodied the spirit of the SA Sport Hall of Fame which exists to honour South African men and women who have made a bold impact on sport in this country, and to plant the seeds of inspiration and aspiration into young people to achieve greatness and ultimately represent our country and its people on the world stage.

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The permanent home of the South African Sport Hall of Fame will be opened at Sun City in November 2017 where South Africa’s rich and diverse sporting heritage will be acknowledged and preserved. In addition to this, various community projects and talent nurturing programmes will continue as part of the SA Sport Hall of Fame mandate.

Visit the SA Sport Hall of Fame website HERE to stay up to date to events etc.

Jacques is the founder & webmaster of TheYellowCap.com and is a sports lover of note. He likes writing opinion pieces that matter.

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