Have you heard from Ard Mathews?
We live in the era of the absurd. Where success is very much dependent on the emotional appeal you can render. I few weeks ago I wrote a piece on how grim the Springboks chances of winning the world cup actually were. I have however since changed my mind. No it’s not because I think that as a result of their victory on Saturday they are now suddenly the team that they were a few years ago. The reason for my 180 degree turn can best be summarized in two words.
Ard Mathews. Last night the Just Jinjer front man delivered an acoustic rendition of the lyric that was macabre to say the very least. It is on this backdrop that I think that as a result of ruining the national anthem he has sprinkled some luck in the Boks world cup campaign. Think of it four years ago when Ras Dumisani ruined the song the Boks went on to win the showpiece. Sentimental folks like myself will take heart in Mathews’ mediocre performance on primetime television.
I am sure he will wish that he was that little girl in the FNB advert. You know the one where everybody joins in when she forgets the words. Yes if only we were that kind. We South Africans are patriotic but not that patriotic. Many of us cringed in our living rooms as we watched the performance unfold. But in all seriousness the national anthem is very hard. It’s the only anthem I know of that tries to incorporate so many languages, you might be excused for missing a click here or a word there.
In fact if anyone understands what Matthews is going through it should be South African sportsmen and women. I have been for years proposing that South African sporting institutions hold some workshops and clinics teaching our sporting idols how to sing the song. It is rather embarrassing when you see our starts lining up and the anthem plays and there is nothing. Some of them lip sink and pretend like they know what they are doing but they don’t. its brutal, it’s just brutal. The eat hot potatoes throughout the whole thing. Some of them however do have the good sense to take the high road and they just seal their lips. As those high def cameras zoom in, you can see them break a sweat as they pretend to be concentrating. Once again its brutal just brutal.
So as we head into the tournament the Boks might be a bit more confident now knowing that things that happened in 2007 have started happening again. But they would be well advised to try and learn the song if for no other reason than to keep up appearances. Lord knows that after their recent performances we are finding it harder and harder to point out things that they do well on the field.