SA embassy blamed for anthem flop

2009-11-16 00:00

FRENCH officials have blamed the anthem debacle, ahead of the Springboks’ Test against the Tricolores in Toulouse on Friday night, on the South African embassy, while the singer himself has blamed poor sound equipment.

The Springboks, beaten 20-13 by the hosts, were angered by reggae singer Ras Dumisani, originally from Durban, who butchered their anthem, but manager Jo Maso said South African embassy officials chose the singer.

“Every time we welcome a fo­reign side, we ask the embassy to propose people for the national anthems,” said Maso.

“It’s the South African embassy that put forward this man and we respected their choice.”

However, SA Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins has sent a letter of complaint to the French rugby union.

Hoskins said yesterday he is “very, very disappointed” about the way in which the anthem was sung, and he has already sent a letter to the French rugby union in this regard. He feels it was “absolutely disrespectful” toward the Springboks and South Africa.

The farcical rendition of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika — in which Dumisani was often off key and shouted rather than sang — was followed by the rousing Marseillaise, and the mood created by the anthems was mirrored in the rugby played by the two teams, a disjointed effort by the Springboks and a stirring showing by the French.

“We are annoyed by the fact that the French disrespected our anthem,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

Bok vice-captain Victor Matfield said Dumisani’s anthem spoilt a special moment.

“Every time you go out on the field and sing the national anthem, it’s very important for us because it really fires you up, because you know you’re playing for your country.

“It was a joke out there. The guys couldn’t sing along to it and even the crowd were starting to laugh. It was very disappointing.”

Rapport newspaper quoted Shoyab Casoo of the South African embassy in France as saying the embassy supplied the French rugby union with a list of South African artists as requested, but did not recommend a specific artist.

“We just gave them the names of people we’re aware of …”

Dumisani is based in Paris.

When Beeld questioned Dumisani via Facebook, he blamed the poor performance on the sound equipment, saying he complained about it during the sound check, but nothing was done about the matter.

“It was war, it was most certainly war. If you can’t hear yourself, it’s simply impossible to sing.”

Dumisani said he’s very sorry about the performance. He denied telling any journalist that he had performed well: “Because I wasn’t singing, I was just shouting.”

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