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Let's sing our national anthem with pride

By unknown | Oct 11, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ever wondered why a certain section of South Africans, notably white, is passionate about rugby and will fill stadiums to capacity regardless of the status of the game?

Ever wondered why a certain section of South Africans, notably white, is passionate about rugby and will fill stadiums to capacity regardless of the status of the game?

Also, ever wondered why supporting both local soccer teams and the national Bafana Bafana squad is an upward battle although the majority of the game's followers are the other section - black?

I can already hear murmurs of accusations that I am going on a racial tirade.

This is about the pride of one's country and you will see what I mean. For a long time, rugby was seen as a white sport, ostensibly an Afrikaner domain, while soccer was a black man's thing.

But things have changed, thanks to the new dispensation and growing racial tolerance. Today, blacks play rugby with whites.

Here is a pertinent question which many may have asked themselves.

Why do the Springboks sing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, which includes Die Stem, with more emotion than their Bafana counterparts? South Africa's national anthem is unique in that it includes four of the 11 official languages.

A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that eulogises the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognised either by a country's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.

Both the Boks and Bafana started singing the unified anthem in 1995. I have been touched by the raw passion expressed by the rugby team, most of whom are white and may even be overwhelmed by pronouncing the isiXhosa and Sesotho lyrics.

I have yet to see Bafana emulate the rugby squad. I am a staunch couch football supporter. What I have seen, especially on big match events, is pathetic. Our soccer heroes, except for crossing their hearts, which is not even original, usually stare ahead, clam up or even smile during the rendition of the national hymn. I have even seen others chew gum.

Never, never, have I seen such indiscretions even from the Cheetahs or Sharks.

Charity begins at home. Therefore, I strongly blame the weak enculturation of our footballers. Many of us have seen how, specifically, blacks behave at some events when the anthem is sung.

It would suffice to say many of us do not appreciate the importance of singing the patriotic song.

Some years ago, it took the great Madiba's ire to knock sense into a bunch of adults at St Mary's Anglican Cathedral in Johannesburg. The occasion eludes me, but what irked the former president was this group of people that decided to remain seated during the singing of Die Stem.

He ordered them to stand up, and that the national anthem be repeated.

Mandela had rightly reminded them that they may have hated the song associated with apartheid oppressors, but singing it alongside Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika was now part of reconciliation and the healing process.

Rugby, therefore, may have been regarded as an exclusively white game, but today we should take a leaf from the Bokke's book.

Ponder this: The next time you watch TV, you might see the English sing God Save The Queen or the French La Marseillaise.

Watch the emotion and the patriotism etched on their faces and learn.


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