Press Release: Brand South Africa saddened at rugby legend Joost Van der Westhuizen’s passing

Joost van der Westhuizen was an ambassador for the nation brand, says Brand South Africa chief executive.

Springbok rugby great, Joost van der Westhuizen, passed on after five years of suffering from motor neuron disease. (Youtube screenshot)

Johannesburg, Thursday 09 February 2017 – Joost Van der Westhuizen will be remembered as one of the greatest Springboks and as a positive ambassador for the nation brand that is South Africa,” said Brand South Africa’s chief executive, Dr Kingsley Makhubela.

Reflecting on the 1995 World Cup final, a match that helped late President Nelson Mandela unite the new South Africa – Dr. Makhubela added: “The rugby legend’s participation in the 1995 Rugby World Cup – a sporting event of immense social and political importance for South Africa ranks as his most triumphant accomplishment.

“The iconic image of Nelson Mandela dressed in a Springbok jersey presenting the William Webb Ellis Cup to the winning team galvanised and united South Africa and sealed Van der Westhuizen’s place in history.”

The former Springbok scrumhalf passed away on Monday aged 45, after losing his nearly six-year long battle with motor neuron disease (MND). Van der Westhuizen, played 89 Tests for the Springboks between 1993 and 2003.

Dr. Makhubela concluded: “Today we express our appreciation to Joost van der Westhuizen, for his passion and active role in branding South Africa as a country that Inspires New Ways. We express our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr Van der Westhuizen. We share in your mourning.”