‘Equal together makes us stronger together’

Paul Treu has shared a powerful message behind the true meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

Treu is one of the coaches who is part of a rugby group who have united behind the BLM movement and called for equal opportunities for all.

Initially, the group confirmed 49 participants had signed on to support the statement, but that number has quickly swelled, with the latest confirmed figure now over 700.

READ: ‘We simply want fair opportunities’

Treu, who last week was appointed as the new head coach at the University of the Western Cape, shared some of his views in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with SA Rugby magazine [Ed’s note: The full interview will appear in the upcoming print issue].

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The BLM movement and the formation of the local rugby group have drawn plenty of reactions, much of it rooted in misunderstanding and misconceptions.

Treu explained the motto of the group was ‘Equal together makes us stronger together’.

‘We identify structural violence within society as a threat to the rights of all people in our country and oppose racism, which is an example of cultural violence as well as direct violence which has resulted in killings of people in communities, farms, workplaces and elsewhere in society.

‘We note that the Black Lives Matter movement is focused on the fact that killings have targeted certain groups of people but that the inherent message is that all murders must be rejected. Our group supports all movements which advance human rights and equality in society.’

Treu added that there was a responsibility to bring such subjects to light.

‘We acknowledge that black people are coming in with a historical disadvantage, but we stand for equality and for social justice. We oppose all the problems in our country, such as gang violence and farm murders. These are all things we don’t talk about.’

As a coach, Treu has now stepped into a new role at the University of the Western Cape, and said he was looking forward to instilling certain values in the system.

‘Work ethic, punctuality, respecting people, having an appetite for learning, creating high standards – these are all things that will never change. It’s also about how I can keep learning and getting better. How can I keep inspiring? How can we buy into a collective goal to create something unique?

‘How can we apply ourselves to be as professional as possible? That’s something that we can achieve in our conduct, by creating high standards on and off the field. If we can create that sort of culture, we can really apply this to the university structure.’

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Craig Lewis