The springbok, the symbol of South Africa's rugby team, is a medium-sized gazelle native to southern Africa.The male is noted for its "pronking" - leaping into the air so that all four feet are off the ground.
South Africa played its first rugby international in 1891, but it was not until they toured Britain in 1906 that they became known as the Springboks.
The sport was segregated under apartheid, with different organising bodies for different races and the national side uniformly white.
During the period non-white South Africans would sometimes cheer for the Springboks' opponents in protest at the discrimination they suffered.
Sporting links with South Africa became increasing controversial in the second half of the 20th century, with Springbok tours attracting growing demonstrations and the Gleneagles Agreement of 1977 discouraging sporting contacts with the country.
South Africa was banned from the first two rugby World Cups because of apartheid. It was readmitted to international rugby in 1992, after official sporting discrimination was dismantled.
Nelson Mandela intervened to save the Springbok emblem after the ANC came to power in the country's first democratic elections in 1994.
The post-apartheid era has seen several racial controversies in the sport, with one Springbok coach sacked over racial comments and Gert van Schalkwyk, a hooker, being selected to play for the Pumas, one of the country's professional clubs, despite being convicted of the racist murder of a homeless man.
The issue of "transformation" remains prominent, with claims of discrimination still being made and a black supporter racially abused at a Springbok match in Johannesburg in August.
But black players argue against the use of quotas as tokenism, and when the national side plays all the races are united in support.
Article courtesy: The Telegraph