The Springboks swept into a wet and windy Port Elizabeth as thousands braced the adverse weather to celebrate the 2019 Rugby World Cup champions on their victory tour.
Zwide had the biggest turnout as they chanted and sang as hometown hero and World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi returned to show off the Webb Ellis trophy.
The 38-car and bus entourage carrying the team, staff, and municipality officials drove through the streets of the Nelson Mandela Bay, often forced to slow down, due to the density of the crowds on the streets.
In New Brighton and KwaZakhele – the oldest townships of Nelson Mandela Bay – the crowds jogged next to the bus for more than 40 km into KwaZakhele, News24 reported.
The crowds grew on the main roads of Zwide, skipper Kolisi’s home town.
The convoy was engulfed by thick crowds of supporters who were screaming for their son Kolisi.
“Siya! Siya! Siya! Siya!” they screamed as they ran next to the entourage.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Mongameli Bobani put aside his political worries for the moment to hail the Springboks.
“I’m truly humbled and excited that such a magical moment is taking place during my time of leadership in the Nelson Mandela Bay – the showers of rain have also confirmed that this is indeed an exceptional blessing,” he said.
Meanwhile, some disgruntled Eastern Cape Springbok fans, angered at not getting an opportunity to see their heroes up close, protested by burning tyres and old furniture.
Police had to manage the traffic and discouraged people from driving past Stanford Road, in the Helenvale area.
They said stones had been thrown from some houses near the road and that motorists had been at risk.
Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus will be travelling to attend the SA Sports Awards where they are nominated for the People’s Choice and Coach of the Year awards respectively.
The Bok victory tour continues and concludes in Cape Town on Monday.