After an intriguing tweet a coupe of weeks back we decided to catch up with one of the great locks in the modern game, Agen based Ross Skeate:
1) Hey Ross- When you think about “Africa” – do you have a mental picture of a bush holiday or do you instead see Warwick Market in Durbs?
That’s a tough one because South Africa means so many things to me. Everything comes to mind to be honest; friends, family, Cape Town, Durban…even places like the South Coast which are really close to my heart. But I guess those images have more to do with the places I’ve lived and the people I’ve met, than the bush by comparison.
2) A while ago you tweeted that you “miss the snap and crackle of the third world” – does the uniform metronome-like pace of Europe become annoying at times?
I don’t think annoying is the way I’d put it. There are certainly things here in France and the 1st world that are really awesome; everything from the health benefits and lack of crime, to the awesome infrastructure. But it’s that sense of excitement and freedom in the air back home that I really miss. You often hear talk about ‘the nanny state’ when referring to the UK and France isn’t far off in some ways, and as someone who loves my freedom and being able to jump in my car and drive to a nearly deserted beach, I really miss that african experience. Perhaps it’s that element of danger associated with living back home that adds to the excitement, either way its one of the many things I miss.
3) In my opinion one of the best things about Johannesburg is that people park on sidewalks if there is no other space – what little idiosyncrasy about African life do you like the most?
Haha, can’t say I agree with you on that one! But geez there’s a lot to choose from. I really miss all our cultures back home. You won’t find a “Sharp, Sharp”, “Wynberg, Cape Town!” Or a “boer maak n plan” anywhere but back home.
4) David Pocock seems to be one of the few players speaking out about African politics. Are rugby players apathetic in general or have you just learned to keep your traps shut on the issue of politics?
Strange an Aussie commenting on African politics…but no, I don’t think anyone can be apathetic when it comes to all the politics back home. I think perhaps South African rugby players like to leave politics to the politicians, but I’m very sure they all have very strong opinions about all facets of life, political and not.
5) The French trifecta of great cheese, great bread and great wine cannot often be beaten. What would you describe as a South African trifecta of similar esteem?
Pap, biltong and anything off the Braai really. Really miss a good South African Braai like you can’t believe.
6) Most Afrikaans players return from stints abroad and get involved with farming straight away. What will you as a soutie be doing should you ever return after your playing career?
Not entirely sure…I know I want to do some more studying. My degree at UCT in Media, English and Writing provided some direction, but here are a million options that come to mind. Definitely want to continue with my writing as one of them.
7) On a serious note: what is your hope for our continent in the short term?
I’d really like to see countries pulling towards a common goal of prosperity for all across the continent. In Africa we have a tendency to fight among ourselves while selling off pieces of the continent to the highest bidder.
As an emerging economy in South Africa for example, we have the opportunity to start somewhat fresh and really be innovative when it comes to tackling our problems. When I say fresh I mean along the lines of our energy worries. There are ample amounts of renewable energy sources all over Africa we can use, and not be tied to any Nuclear program for example, like a country such as Japan was.
Well guys thats all from Ross for now. Hopefully we can get the bloke on our forum at some stage so if you have any questions for him please fire away on this thread.