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LESSON THIRTY-ONE HERE!
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In today’s lesson, entitled One Team, One Nation, you will be listening to a passage about how one of history’s most influential leaders used rugby to unite a divided nation. Listen carefully to the passage and then answer the questions that follow. It’s always a good idea to take notes as you listen, but remember: don’t let your note-taking distract you from your listening.
One Team, One Nation
Listen and Learn
Lesson Thirty-One PASSAGE ONLY track:
Whether we are active participants or just fans, sport gives us a unique opportunity to meet others and build lasting relationships. International sporting events like the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup allow people from all over the world to unite in peace, not only to celebrate athletic excellence but also to exhibit national pride. We all like to see our country’s athletes bring home the cup or win the most medals. Sport is, after all, about “being the best,” and it’s this competitive element that makes it so compelling. But sport is not always just about “winning.” History shows us that sport is a universal language that transcends social, cultural, and racial boundaries. One particularly moving and resonant historical moment came in South Africa in 1995.
Rugby was never a passion for South African revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela. And why would it be? During South Africa’s apartheid era—a system of enforced racial segregation instituted by the white government from 1948 to 1994—rugby was regarded as the “sport of the white elite.” The Springboks, the national team, were detested and shunned by Mandela’s black majority, and just as well. Worldwide anti-apartheid sporting boycotts of South Africa meant that the team was prohibited from taking part in all international competitions, including the first two Rugby World Cups in 1987 and 1991. Only South Africa’s white ruling class, which made up a mere 15% of the country’s total population, supported the team. But not for long. The country was headed for some big changes.
In February 1990, President F.W. de Klerk declared that the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and other rebel groups would soon be lifted. He also announced that ANC leader Nelson Mandela, who had been imprisoned for 27 years for his anti-apartheid activities, was being released. From the moment Mandela gained his freedom, he turned his back on old prejudices and injustices. Instead, he focused his efforts on healing the country’s deep-seated wounds and on implementing democracy. Though overcoming apartheid was a slow process, by 1994, a new constitution had gone into effect giving all South Africans, regardless of color, the right to vote. And in the country’s first democratic election, held in April that year, Nelson Mandela acceded to the Presidency.
With apartheid dismantled, the international community lifted its boycott and gave South Africa the opportunity to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Mandela fully understood the significance of the gesture and saw the Cup as a chance to step up his country’s healing process. He met with Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, and together they devised a plan to promote the theme of a “rainbow nation” during the tournament. Pienaar encouraged his players to learn South Africa’s new multi-language national anthem, “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” by heart, and Mandela called on blacks to show their support for the Springbok team.
Playing under the “one team, one nation” mantra, the Springboks fought their way to the finals, where they were to face the New Zealand All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. As the teams lined up before kick-off, President Mandela, dressed in a replica of Captain Pienaar’s Springbok jersey, walked onto the pitch and greeted the players of both teams. After a brief awkward silence came applause, which grew and grew. It was a great moment in sporting history, witnessed by 63,000 spectators in the stands and millions more watching on TV around the world.
The Springboks went on to capture the Cup. More importantly, President Mandela’s open support of the previously white-dominated rugby fraternity won the hearts of a divided nation and went a long way towards repairing broken relations.
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS
Listen to Listen and Learn Lesson Thirty-One LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS track:
Today’s listening comprehension questions will be SHORT ANSWER and based on FACTUAL CONTENT. Listen to each question carefully and write your answer. For the best results, always try to listen to the question without looking at the written questions on the website. Feel free to pause the recording if you need a moment or two to think about the question.
1. According to the author, what element of sport makes it so compelling?
2. What does history show us about sport?
3. What is or was apartheid and how long did it last?
4. Why were the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, detested and shunned by revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela’s black majority?
5. Why weren’t the Springboks allowed to play in the first two Rugby World Cups in 1987 and 1991?
6. How much of South Africa’s overall population did the white minority comprise?
7. In what year was Nelson Mandela released from prison, where he was being held for his anti-apartheid activities?
8. What did South Africa’s new constitution, which went into effect in 1994, give all South Africans?
9. What did Springbok captain Francois Pienaar encourage his players to learn for the 1995 Rugby World Cup?
10. Which team did the Springboks face in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, and what was the result?
LISTENING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS and ANSWERS HERE!
You may also download the lesson in PDF format to keep for your reference.
To learn more about Nelson Mandela and the inspirational story leading up to the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, there are several books you can read or movies you can watch. The Clint Eastwood-directed film “Invictus”—based on a book by John Carlin—stars Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Captain Francois Pienaar. “Mandela—Long Walk to Freedom” is a 2013 film starring Idris Elba that is based on Nelson Mandela’s now-classic autobiography.
KA WORDCAST: Listen and Learn! Lesson THIRTY-ONE
KEY VOCABULARY WORDS
Be sure to listen to the Key Vocabulary bonus track. This will help you improve your understanding of the passage itself and give your vocabulary a big boost.
Sport is, after all, about “being the best,” and it’s this COMPETITIVE element that makes it so compelling.
Before we look at the adjective COMPETITIVE, let’s first look at the verb to COMPETE and the noun COMPETITION on which COMPETITIVE is based. As a verb, COMPETE in its most common usage means to take part in a contest or game.
My son is COMPETING in a citywide tennis tournament this weekend.
Our school debate team will be traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to COMPETE with teams from other schools across the nation.
The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896, with just nine countries COMPETING.
To me, it somehow seems unfair that in the Olympics, amateur athletes and teams from very poor countries must COMPETE for medals against “professionals” from very rich countries.
COMPETE is also commonly used outside of sports and games to mean to try to be more successful or better than someone else (at work, in school, in life) who is trying to do the same thing as you.
More and more Tokyo junior high schools are COMPETING for students to enroll in their returnee English courses.
Sadly, our town’s independent little bookshop had to close down because it could no longer COMPETE with Amazon on price and selection.
Even though my children are teenagers, they still COMPETE for my attention by trying to outdo each other, sometimes by doing something really good, at other times by behaving badly.
The noun COMPETITION refers to an event, contest, or situation in which people COMPETE to see who is the best at something, as in:
Our school’s brass band is in COMPETITION with over 50 other bands in this year’s National Brass Band Tournament.
Mika won the karaoke COMPETITION at the local Chinese restaurant and has now been selected to COMPETE in the state finals.
Tickets for Sunday’s dog show are $15 in advance or $25 on the day of the COMPETITION.
The set phrase THE COMPETITION refers to the people or group of people who are COMPETING against someone else. Here are a couple of examples to show you how to use this useful and common expression.
Entering the pre-season football tournament will be a good opportunity for our son’s team to assess THE COMPETITION.
If we want to draw more customers into our restaurant and stay ahead of THE COMPETITION, we should install an outdoor play area for children.
Now let’s get back to the adjective COMPETITIVE. In the sentence above from today’s listening passage, COMPETITIVE describes people who try very hard to be better or more successful than others. It can also be used to describe a situation or condition.
These days, you have to be very determined and COMPETITIVE to even be considered for a university scholarship.
This year’s sixth-grade boys are extremely COMPETITIVE both in sports and academics.
When my dad graduated from college and started job hunting, the job market wasn’t nearly as COMPETITIVE as it is now.
Considering today’s COMPETITIVE education environment, it’s no wonder that so many parents are enrolling their kids in academic pre-schools.
COMPETITIVE also describes something that is as good as or even better than other things that are similar.
If we don’t do something soon to attract more qualified, experienced, and dedicated teachers, our school will not be able to remain COMPETITIVE.
The company offered me a COMPETITIVE salary, but I turned the job down because I didn’t care for the working environment.
Despite its fancy exterior, the Charm Boutique on the High Street has a good selection of summer dresses at very COMPETITIVE prices.
History shows us that sport is a universal language that TRANSCENDS social, cultural, and racial boundaries.
TRANSCEND is a verb that means to be or to go beyond what is expected or the usual limits of something. TRANSCEND is quite often used when talking about something abstract such as an idea or concept. Exceed, surpass, and rise above are some good synonyms.
The success of the African-American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey shows that self-motivation and a love of learning are all you need to TRANSCEND social, economic, and racial barriers.
Engineers at Cal-Tech were able to TRANSCEND technological restrictions to build an eerily human-like robot that can perform all kinds of household chores.
For the outgoing President, running for Senator would mean returning to a role that he has already TRANSCENDED.
This year’s Film Festival was proof positive that cinema is a medium that TRANSCENDS racism and hatred and violence to unite people in a universal bond of love and respect.
During South Africa’s apartheid era—a system of ENFORCED racial segregation instituted by the white government from 1948 to 1994—rugby was regarded as the “sport of the white elite.”
ENFORCE is a verb that means to make sure that people obey a particular law or rule, sometimes by using force. Impose, implement, and carry out are some good equivalents.
If you arrive at school later than 9:30, the rules say that you should be marked “absent” for the morning session, but our school rarely ENFORCES this rule.
I’m supposed to ride my bicycle on the street, not on the sidewalk, but Tokyo police don’t seem to be ENFORCING the rule.
I told my friend Natalie that if she didn’t start ENFORCING stricter gaming rules, her kids would become gaming zombies.
Once I made English the official language spoken in our house and ENFORCED the rule, my children’s English ability improved by leaps and bounds.
After Jordan was caught trying to sneak out of his bedroom window in the middle of the night to meet his friends, his parents ENFORCED a strict 10-p.m. curfew.
As an adjective, ENFORCED is synonymous with required, compulsory, and mandatory, as in these examples.
Students who disregard the ENFORCED dress code will be sent home immediately.
Many Japanese companies make their employees take ENFORCED vacations because the workers are so reluctant to take time off.
The Springboks, the national team, were detested and SHUNNED by Mandela’s black majority, and just as well.
SHUN means to avoid, reject, or ignore someone or something because you despise that person or thing, or because you have been told to be cautious about him/her/it. Snub, have nothing to do with, leave alone, and ostracize are some good synonyms.
SHUNNING can be the cruelest form of bullying.
Dylan’s teammates have every reason to SHUN him, since it was his cheating that cost the team the championship.
Becky’s family and friends found some of her radical political and social views upsetting, even alarming, but that doesn’t mean they SHUN her.
After the Olympic athlete tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, he was SHUNNED by all of his sponsors.
When you “digital detox,” you SHUN smart phones, laptops, and all other electronic gadgets and focus on improving communication with your loved ones.
Worldwide anti-apartheid sporting BOYCOTTS of South Africa meant that the team was prohibited from taking part in all international competitions, including the first two Rugby World Cups in 1987 and 1991.
In the sentence above, BOYCOTT is a noun based on the verb to BOYCOTT, which means to refuse to buy something or to take part in some event as a punishment or protest against a country, business, organization, or person. Synonyms for the verb BOYCOTT include ban, place an embargo on, snub, and prohibit. Synonyms for the noun form include ban, bar, prohibition, and embargo. Look at how BOYCOTT is used as both a verb and a noun.
North Korea BOYCOTTED the 1988 Olympic Games when South Korea hosted the event.
Complaining that all the candidates for the student-body council do not truly represent the students, some student activists are BOYCOTTING the upcoming election.
Consumer BOYCOTTS can be an effective way to get businesses to end unfair and environmentally harmful corporate practices.
To pressure gaming manufacturers into changing their practices, Maureen has formed a parents’ group that is promoting a BOYCOTT of violent video games.
With apartheid DISMANTLED, the international community lifted its boycott and gave South Africa the opportunity to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
In the passage, DISMANTLE is used somewhat figuratively to mean to gradually and step by step end an organization, policy, or system.
“The school’s new curriculum is not working and needs to be completely DISMANTLED,” shouted one of the parents at the PTA meeting.
The most conservative candidate not only wants to eliminate medical care but also aims to DISMANTLE the social-welfare system altogether.
The police say they have arrested more than a dozen people in an operation aimed at DISMANTLING a local yakuza gang.
More generally, DISMANTLE means to take apart a machine or structure.
My daughter loves cycling and can DISMANTLE her mountain bike and put it back to together all by herself.
My husband Kevin is in the backyard DISMANTLING the old wooden playhouse that our kids have now outgrown and no longer use.
The trouble with furniture that you have to assemble yourself is that once you’ve put it together in a room, you might have to DISMANTLE it to get it out.
Large cranes are being used to DISMANTLE the derelict stadium, one section at a time.
To celebrate the end of a divided Germany and the Cold War, on the night of November 9, 1989, crowds of East and West Germans began DISMANTLING the Berlin Wall.