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South African Resource Portal
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South African Resource Portal
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Submit an article to Indago - a peer reviewed journal
Submit an article to Indago - a peer reviewed journal
Submit an article to Indago - a peer reviewed journal
Author

Derek du Bruyn

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National Museum Portuguese Project

Say ‘Portuguese soccer legend’ and the name of international football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo probably comes to mind. A Portuguese soccer legend he certainly is, but he is not the only one. Although fading from living memory, the name ‘Eusébio’ still causes goosebumps among supporters of the esteemed Portuguese football club Benfica. Eusébio was the Wunderkind of professional European soccer in the 1960s.

In his novel, The Go-Between (1953), Leslie P. Hartley wrote “the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there”. Although Hartley referred to British society at the end of the Victorian era, his famous quote is also relevant to South Africa and other countries that have experienced drastic socio-political changes. The fact that the past is described as “a foreign country” means it can never be fully understood by us who live in the present age because we do not belong there. Post-1994 democratic South Africa and pre-1994 apartheid South Africa are indeed two very different countries. For those who grew up in the former, the latter is “a foreign country”.