‘At the Sharks we only speak English’

Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee has explained how the drive for a culture of inclusivity has moved the Durban-based franchise agree to only communicate in a shared language.

At the start of this Vodacom Super Rugby season, the Sharks have been widely hailed for the racial diversity of the team, with Coetzee recently taking to social media to explain the outlook they have on that matter.

In a fascinating interview with New Frame, he also explains how his views on cultural inclusivity were changed and shaped when completing his thesis on transformation for his doctorate in leadership studies last year.

‘Transformation is not me taking the sport to people who never knew it,’ he commented. ‘It’s almost reigniting the flame, it’s almost humbling yourself and saying, “I’m sorry, this was wrong, how do we fix it?” You take the anger and the emotion out of it and go through a process of integrity and transparency.

‘Up until now transformation and development programmes were quite disrespectful and actually racist in how they were done. You load a bakkie with some cones and T-shirts, and you go and do a mass display session. Then you pack your bakkie, give the okes a T-shirt, then you leave. What’s your legacy?’

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He also explained how they were looking to walk the talk at the Sharks.

‘I said at the Sharks we only speak English. I’m proudly Afrikaans, but to drive an inclusive culture we only speak English. You can’t visit culture, you have to live culture. One must be very careful to say they don’t see colour, for us it’s become a culture thing.’


Photo: Steve Haag