LISTEN | Hearing the crowd singing the anthem along was magical – KB

Singer says she doesn't take singing anthem lightly

Koena Mashale Journalist
Singer KB Motsilanyane sings the SA national anthem at the test match between the Springboks and Ireland at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Singer KB Motsilanyane sings the SA national anthem at the test match between the Springboks and Ireland at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Image: Masi Losi

Actress and singer Keabetswe “KB” Motsilanyane says she would gladly answer the call to lead the national anthem for future matches if the chance came after her powerful and emotional rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika at Loftus Versfeld Stadium during the Springboks’ match against Ireland on Saturday.

Dressed in a striking green gown, KB’s performance captivated the audience from the first note. Her soulful voice resonated throughout the stadium, creating a moment of unity and pride among the spectators.

At a poignant moment, she paused and allowed the crowd to join in towards the end of the national anthem, their voices swelling in a heartfelt chorus that filled the air with patriotic fervour.

The performance has been widely praised on social media, with many calling it one of the greatest renditions of the anthem ever. Fans were particularly moved by KB’s decision to let the crowd finish the anthem, showcasing her awareness and respect for the moment.

This gesture, combined with her powerful vocals, left a lasting impression on everyone present and those watching online, as sports, arts and culture minister Gayton McKenzie took to socials to congratulate her on the “stellar performance”.

Motsilanyane said singing the anthem was something she did with “pride and care”.

It’s so beautiful how crowd didn’t even miss a beat
KB Motsilanyane

“Of course, I would join the Springboks wherever they go. It would be such an honour. Every time I get invited to do the national anthem, it's always such a privilege and such an honour, and it is something that I do with such pride and care.

“And so to get invited, suggested, or even recommended to sing for the best rugby team in the world, it's just a big and huge endorsement, and I appreciate the sentiments of the fans,” she said.

She said she was still overwhelmed, hours after her performance.

“I am overwhelmed. You don't understand how overwhelmed I am, especially today because you think, ‘OK, we are done, and let's go', but then you wake up in the morning and your phone is just going off. I am shaking as I am speaking to you,” said Motsilanyane.

She described the moment as magical.

“You understand that when you are singing, you are not singing your own song but a song that belongs to the nation, that belongs to each one of us, it's our song. And so, one handles it with that respect and tries to give it all the respect it deserves, and when you see everyone else singing the song, it gives you such a stir of emotions and to be able to hear them sing with you.”

KB was wearing an earpiece while singing and couldn't hear the crowd singing along with her.

“When I removed the earpiece and heard them singing along with me, it was the most magical experience that one could ever have,” she said.

Motsilanyane said the moment she let the crowd sing was when everything connected.

“When I performed anthems at Loftus, I experienced that vibrancy of the crowd, so yesterday it only made sense, especially with what the country is going through and where we've been and how South Africans are always so ready to connect.

“We are always so ready to connect with each other. You know, when you travel overseas and you hear someone say a word in Tswana or Zulu, you just want to hug that person like they are your brother or your sister.

“So it was just kind of allowing that moment to kind of come through, and it's so beautiful how everyone kind of... you know they didn't even miss a beat. And I think that's what struck me about it yesterday. I was like, 'you know, typical South Africans when there is an opportunity to connect, they take it without hesitation,” said Motsilanyane.

She expressed her gratitude to the people of SA for making that moment what it is now.

“It is a great honour, not something that I take lightly. Performing the anthem for me is something that I take so seriously. When you sing it, you represent every single person who is a citizen of the country,” said Motsilanyane.

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