September is our Heritage Month in one of the harshest years that South Africa and the world has ever faced. But if there’s one message that has come through to us during lockdown, it’s that we are stronger together.

And heading into October, the highly-anticipated documentary series Chasing The Sun will keep that flag flying as it explores what it is within us as South Africans that allows us to not only survive the worst, but to do our best.

It starts with Siya Kolisi, the first black captain of the Springbok rugby team, lifting the William Webb Ellis Cup at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

From defeat to glory

DStv Premium viewers will crush those Sunday blues when Chasing the Sun, a collaboration between MultiChoice Group’s M-Net and SuperSport, premieres on 4 October. The five-part documentary series tells the story of the South African rugby team and their journey from dejection and underperforming, to becoming champions of the world at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. And you don’t have to have watched a minute of rugby - or even care about sports - to take that in and make it your own.

Set a reminder

Throughout its 5 40-minute episodes, Chasing The Sun gives viewers unprecedented access to behind-the-scenes footage of the Springboks in their preparation for the World Cup – from matches, locker-room discussions, practices, and exclusive fresh insights from the coaching staff, players and commentators.

The title of the show is taken from a quote by former president Nelson Mandela. As the last century ended and Nelson Mandela was leaving public office, his 1999 farewell speech to Parliament closed with his dream that “all our children may play in the sun” – 21 years later, a team made up of those varied children, chased and found that sun, in Japan.

As told through a rugby lens

“It’s a story of the human spirit as told through a rugby lens,” says Gareth Whittaker, Executive Producer of Chasing The Sun. “It reminds us how good we can be when we pull together, and this documentary tells the story of a group of people who learnt that their diversity is in fact their strength and not a hindrance.”

In an interview (episode 5), winger Sbu Nkosi echoes what Gareth says. “South Africa is a diverse country, there are plenty of provinces that have a variety of languages, and everyone brings something to the recipe. You just need to allow us to cook something up, because when everybody with their differences come together for one goal, they are unstoppable. And that diversity of South Africa should be a weapon more than an obstacle.”

Honest, raw footage

While combing through thousands of hours of footage, Gareth and his team had to make decisions of what to add to the doccie and what to discard. “The important thing to know about this series is that it’s authentic,” says Gareth. “The footage is honest, raw and emotional. When telling a good story, it’s all about making choices about what you allow and what not. In this case, we kept to the principle of authenticity – if it feels real and true, we use it. If it feels contrived or constructed, we don’t.”

The Power to change

“Stories have the power to change the world,” says Gareth. And the story that is told in this doccie has the power to not just change rugby fans’ lives, but our entire nation. “It shows South Africans at their very best, and by watching this doccie series, it will hopefully remind us that we can be that again.”

Other contributor interviews and profiles that will feature in this doccie include coach Rassie Erasmus, rugby players Siya Kolisi, Herschel Jantjies, Trevor Nyakane, Makazole Mapimpi, Duane Vermeulen, Malcolm Marx and many more.

“You’ll have goosebumps in the first five minutes of watching this series and it will stay with you for the following five weeks,” adds Gareth.

So pop on the coffee pot and reserve your DStv Premium “box seat” for Chasing The Sun as you relive the #StrongerTogether movement and make it a part of your life today.

Watch Chasing The Sun S1 from Sunday, 4 October at 18:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).

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