Video: Maritzburgers sing the anthem

2011-08-25 00:00

IT’S every singer’s worst nightmare, and for Ard Matthews, lead singer of legendary SA rock band Just Jinjer, that nightmare was realised on Tuesday night.

Matthews stumbled over his words and muddled his way through the Xhosa, Zulu and

Sesotho lines of an awkward rendition of the national anthem after the Bok squad was named.

Immediately he tweeted, “I thought the team were gonna join me like the standard bank ad. Haha. Huge apologies SA. Please forgive me...”

A few minutes later he sent out another message: “Seriously, I am utterly devastated by tonight. This was a HUGE honour for me and I could not be more embarrassed and sorry...”

Mere minutes later “Ard Matthews” was trending on Twitter and the Youtube video went viral overnight.

In a statement released yesterday by Supersport, John Smit, his friend and Springbok captain, said he accepted Matthews’s apology unconditionally.

“People who know Ard know how passionate he is about South Africa; he even has a tattoo of Africa on his arm — he’s one of the most patriotic people I know. This was like a Test debut for him. He was so excited to be doing this. Mistakes happen. Nothing I said could make him feel better.”

Fans of Matthews defended him, saying “it can happen to anyone” and they “doubt if there are many South Africans who can sing it”. A Witness reader, Alexandra Smit-Stachowski, wrote on Facebook: “He didn’t bother to learn it. So many better singers than him. They should have had Cito from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar sing it — if they wanted a hip whitey to do it. Ard’s had his time.” Tina Kock Vermaak wrote, “ Agh shame I just heard how he said on Radio 5 that he went blank”.

Pietermaritzburg residents sang the anthem loud and proud, bravely allowing The Witness to film them.

Watch the video:

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