Wed Oct 26 11:30:12 SAST 2016

It's not Idols, but the Boks belt out good tune

By unknown | Oct 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

There is no doubt the singing, or in some cases the refusal to sing, our national anthem invokes an array of emotions among sports lovers.

A brief by Deputy Sports Editor Sello Rabothata to write a "fun piece" left me slightly worried.

I had no doubt I would tread on too many people's toes if I took a light look at what for many is a very emotive issue.

One just has to think back to the recent outcry over South African cricketer Jacques Kallis' refusal to sing Nkosi sikelel' iAfrica.

The amount of newspaper centimeters dedicated to the subject must have put a serious dent in the Sappi tree plantations in Swaziland.

And at the end of the day no one still knows the reason for his continued refusal to sing the anthem.

But Kallis is not alone.

Take a look at our national soccer sides - including Bafana Bafana and the under-23s - and one quickly gets the impression they either don't know the words (which is highly unlikely) or they don't feel it necessary to unite under the anthem before going in to battle.

For that is what, in sporting terms, the anthem should be about. It should be a rallying cry for all South Africans to unite, to stand firm and together before taking on the opposition.

Maybe they should take a leaf out of the Amabhokobhoko's book.

Sure, the team may not be truly representative of our so-called Rainbow Nation, but one thing is for sure, these boys can sing the anthem. And with gusto!

From the English-speaking Percy Montgomery to the Afrikaans-speaking hardman of the team, Bakkies Botha, to the isiZulu-speaking Akona Ndungane, they belt out the anthem with feeling and pride.

For me there is nothing worse than to hear certain segments in our society sing only one part of the anthem, and to the Springboks' credit they sing in Afrikaans, English, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Sesotho with equal relish. And isn't that how it should be?

Just watch the boys at the Rugby World Cup final in Paris tomorrow evening when they line up against current world champions England to sing their respective anthems.

Make no mistake, not many of the Springboks would get too far in Idols, and Randall Abrahams would have a field day ripping them off. But that's not the point. It's about displaying that unity and togetherness.

Don't be surprised if you see a tear rolling down the cheeks of captain John Smit and that old warhorse Os du Randt as they sing: "Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo, Yizwa imithandazo yethu, Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo."

And who says big boys don't cry!


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