/ 16 November 2009

Outrage grows over ‘horrendous’ SA anthem

Ras Dumisani had to weather further criticism on Monday over his rendition of the SA anthem, with Cope calling his performance a ''vocal misfire''.

Ras Dumisani had to weather further criticism on Monday over his rendition of South Africa’s national anthem, with the Congress of the People calling his performance a ”vocal misfire”.

”It looked as though it came right out of the blooper reel of a reality TV singing show,” the party said.

This follows the Young Communist League of South Africa’s condemnation of the performance that took place ahead of the South Africa vs France game in, Toulouse, France, on Friday night.

”What concerns us more is that Ras [Dumisani] did not know the lyrics of the anthem, especially the English/Afrikaans version, and sang the entire anthem out of note, creating a mockery of a song that is supposed to be the pride of our nation,” said the league, suggesting the Mtunzini-born singer restrict his performances to the shower.

It described Dumisani’s rendition of the anthem as ”horrendous”.

”Ras Dumisani is a chancer, a con-artist, a howler of note and a disgrace to our country and must be banned from singing the national anthem on official functions,” said the league in a statement.

It called on the Education Department to make sure children learn the anthem and for mandatory singing at morning assemblies

On Monday the South African Rugby Union wrote to its French counterpart expressing the nation’s dismay at the performance.

”As a union we were shocked and horrified by the rendition of the anthem, and I contacted the French Federation on Saturday morning to express our very grave concerns,” said the union’s president Oregan Hoskins.

Dumisani told Talk Radio 702 that he blamed the equipment for the poor sound, insisting that he had ”sung beautifully”, but that did little to douse the public outrage at his off-key performance of the four-language anthem.

Rugby fans have already filled websites with their anger, and a Facebook group, ”Ban Ras Dumisani from ever singing again”, won 600 members just hours after opening.

”What an embarrassment, never mind disappointment. It should never have happened,” said one posting on the page.

Much of the blame for the debacle from South Africans was being laid at the feet of the French rugby authorities, but French team manager Jo Maso said the choice of singer at each game was made by the visiting team’s diplomatic staff.

”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, the South African embassy in Paris did not impose Dumisani on the organisers of the match, it said in a statement.

”In all cases, the embassy merely provides information, but is often not in a position to vouch for the bona fides, credentials or competency of any of the parties,” it said.

”In this case, the embassy had only one name of a South African singer in France and the embassy provided the name of his agent in France to the French Rugby Union.”

”… This was not a recommendation from the embassy since the embassy had no previous exposure to his performances nor is he a renowned performer.”

It said that during a meeting on September 8 with officials from the Midi-Pyrenees Rugby Union in Toulouse, the embassy was asked to suggest a South African singer residing in France to sing the national anthem before the match.

”Since this was not an embassy event, the embassy maintained that it was not in a position to provide, source or recommend any artists and that they discuss this matter with the South African Rugby Union.

”The embassy further undertook to inform them of any South African singers who might be touring France during this period. There was unfortunately no South African artist touring France during this period.”

It continued: ”The embassy had no subsequent dealings with any of the parties and rejects all claims that the embassy chose or imposed the singer. This was entirely the responsibility of the hosts.” — Sapa, AFP