Francois Pienaar
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Francois Pienaar

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About Him

Living… in Cape Town, South Africa. But he travels quite a bit as a top-level rugby player.

Profession… captain of the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team. Thus far, it’s been a somewhat thankless position, given that the Springboks haven’t been doing very well in the past few years. The job is about to get even more stressful, since Nelson Mandela, the new president of South Africa, has asked Francois to use the Springboks’ public image to help unite the country under a racially diverse banner.

Interests… rugby is both Francois’ passion and his job. But he has some fire in his heart for social activism as well.

Relationship Status… dating his girlfriend, Nerine. He doesn’t get to see her as much as they’d both like during the rugby season.

Challenge…. winning the World Cup and helping to unite South Africans. First, he’ll have to convince his team to join the struggle to bring together the racially divided country. The Springboks are an odd choice for the job, since the predominantly all-white rugby team (except for one black member, Chester) is a symbol of the racial apartheid that may have been eliminated legally, but still divides the country socially. Not only does Francois have to fight against the prejudice of the nation’s citizens, he has to battle racism within his own team. On top of that, the Springboks have played so poorly the past few years that the sports commission is threatening to deband them. Helping Mandela will be an uphill battle to say the least.

Personality… strong, courageous, and supportive.Francois is the consummate captain; he always has a hopeful word to bolster his team no matter how badly they’re doing. He’s fully dedicated to his team, and tries his best to negotiate the tricky territory of doing what’s best for them along with doing what’s best for South Africa. Although Francois is dubious about the ability of the Springboks to achieve what Mandela wants them to achieve, he doesn’t seem to hold any active racial prejudice himself, unlike some other members of his team.

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