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Outcry over lack of respect for national anthem at boxing matches

BSA board member Nthangeni appeals for decorum

Boxing SA board member Dr Azwitamisi Nthangeni.
Boxing SA board member Dr Azwitamisi Nthangeni.
Image: Supplied/Facebook

Could it be that South Africans’ disrespect for the national anthem – specifically in boxing tournaments – is based on pure ignorance or is it deliberate because many people have just stopped caring for national symbols?

That is the question asked when the national anthem – Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica –  is sung before a South African title fight. Others would be chatting while some would be walking up and down and not paying attention to that important moment.

Boxing SA board member Dr Azwitamisi Nthangeni told Sowetan in an exclusive interview about this matter yesterday that he has also noticed the unbecoming behavior during singing of the national anthem.

“There was commotion during the singing of the national anthem,” he said.

“It may not just be in boxing, I have also observed it in football; at times some people will be blowing vuvuzelas during the singing of the national anthem.

“As we are trying to rebuild the boxing brand, it is important that we learn best practices from other sporting codes – how they comply with expectations when the national anthem is being sung; we need to follow suit and also educate boxing lovers about acceptable approach during that moment.”

He said people must remain silent.

“They must pay attention and if it's played on audio, sing along,” he said.

There has been situations where the national anthem will be sung twice simply because there will be two title fights in one tournament. It is supposed to be sung once.

“Provincial managers play a critical role; they must make sure that the national anthem is sung once,” said Nthangeni.

In terms of government protocols, you start singing with the national anthem of the visiting fighter and then follow with that of a local boxer. Protocols also dictates that people should stand to attention with their hands placed at their sides while singing the national anthem. However, the president is the only person allowed to place his or her hand on the chest.

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