MY HEART bleeds for Ras Dumisani.
For the uninitiated who must have dozed off this week, Brother Ras is the Rasta dude who reworked the national anthem in the glare of TV cameras before the Springboks played France last Saturday.
He did a hatchet job and composed the melody and some of the words as he went along. Many found it hilarious, but just as many called for his head. One politician even accused him of treason.
Some retired Springbok player even blamed Ol' Ras for the Boks' loss - which is to stretch it, methinks.
I doubt if, from the moment the starting whistle blows, any sportsman can still hear their national anthem ringing in their heads.
If they do, that is probably why they lose games. They ought to be thinking about game strategy and nothing else.
He is a funny man, this Ras guy. Now he blames the microphone for the startling rendition.
It is typical of a bad carpenter blaming his tools or, like I once experienced, a horrendous chance-taker of a cook at a feast spoiling a drie-voet-pot full of meat and blaming it all on the cow.
"That cow must have swallowed plastic ..."
Many of the pupils who are writing exams now will be blaming their pens for failing.
The brouhaha that erupted - from everyone, his uncle, gardener and neighbour's wife - following Ras's creative offering made many of us Doubting Thomases realise how South Africans of all hues are attached to the anthem.
To be honest, I think Ras gave it his best shot. His best was just not good enough. In fact, put simply, his best was very bad.
I did not see any mockery in his face, though.
In fact, I thought I saw a tear drop. He just ain't got it.
In quite a queer way, I seem to like the brother. Several radio stations interviewed him in the aftermath of his monstrous effort and he obliged them when they asked him, without the "old" microphone of the bad French, to sing the anthem on air.
He did, and if he killed the thing before the game last week, when he sang on radio he buried it.
Thing is, Ras earns his living as a musician. In a fair world, he could have been forced to try something else ... queue marshal, beekeeping, anything but singing.
Brother Ras shot into the headlines too late in history. Had he done his derring-do in the unlamented days of apartheid, we would all blame it on racism.
On the other hand, some of our white compatriots (the legendary bleeding hearts) will be saying: "Ag shame, at least he tried."
Life was easy then. We blamed everything on apartheid - crime, alcoholism, filth, disease, noise, pollution, the whole gamut. Even lack of talent.
Times have changed. There is no sympathy for the likes of Brother Ras. In fact, it is the blacks who want him lynched.