God's Word for today

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Why it's never MY fault...

You've got to love how we tend to display our Bart Simpson mentality when things go wrong: "I didn't do it". When one looks at many of our so-called "leaders" - whether in politics, business, and (sadly) even in the Church - one could be forgiven for thinking that we as South Africans are the most blameless, innocent human beings on God's great earth.

And we're not even talking about little mistakes - even the most monumental cock-ups are "addressed" by trying to shift the blame onto (pick the excuse of your choice) apartheid / whites / blacks / the previous government / our parents / our teachers / society / the microphone / the weather / the devil ... you get the picture.

So I had to have a wry chuckle at this article that appeared on the Independent On-line (IOL) website today, as the unnamed writer gives our national psyche a well-needed kick up the rear end.

Oh, and yes - to add insult to injury, the South African flag was flown upside-down at the stadium. When a national flag is flown upside-down, this is normally recognised as a sign of distress. Could this be an apt reflection of the blame malaise that pervades South African society at the moment?

Article: The Ras card played in rugby again
November 17 2009 at 10:58AM
Source: www.iol.co.za

You can tell Ras Dumisani is a true South African by the way he shifted the blame immediately after he got the word from back home that people weren't best pleased with him. Dumisani admitted his performance was disgusting, but, hey, he couldn't help it, it wasn't his fault.

It was the French, you see. They gave him an old wireless microphone to sing into and an old monitor for his ear, you see. Then they gave the French guy all the good stuff to sing his national anthem with, so, you see, it couldn't possibly be his fault.

The South African embassy in Paris said it wasn't their fault, they just provided the French with a list of South Africans living in Paris and they chose from there. Doesn't Breyten Breytenbach live in Paris?

And, as Spitting Image once told us, he's "quite a nice South African". Why wasn't he on the list? So he can't sing, but, heck, that doesn't seem to be a necessity when smashing out an anthem in France these days.

Dumisani has received an inordinate amount of publicity for failing to hit the high notes and, as he told Talk Radio 702 "people not understanding that I don't do an Afrikaans accent" (which does not explain how he mangled the English, Xhosa and Sotho bits as well, all of this in a Jamaican accent).

He is a man with skin as thick as the dreads on his head. He sang the anthem on CapeTalk on Monday morning, again on Tuesday morning - around the country a nation giggled, then put their hands over their mouths lest the patriotic police catch them.

Patriotism is a funny thing - the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson said - and, although it's not clear exactly who or what he was talking about, we're sure he was miffed with those who practice false patriotism.

Three years ago Jacques Kallis was the subject of a front-page story, instigated by an outraged busybody of a reader on a Sunday newspaper, questioning his patriotism because he kept quiet during the national anthem when it was sung before games.

The reader was in a tizz because Kallis did not move his lips during the anthem. Apparently there are set structures and rules when it comes to showing how much one loves one's country: moving of lips (although, as Claire Johnston of Mango Groove confessed, sometimes one moves one's lips while singing the anthem before Test matches and does not sing at all. The truth came out at an Ellis Park Test when the beginning of the anthem kicked in a little sooner than she thought and the mike was still at her side. She recovered quickly, but not quickly enough), placing of hands over hearts, or national badge.

Kallis' explanation was that it was in honour of his late parents. "He was particularly close to his father who was his cricket mentor," said CSA CEO Majola at the time. "They would often sing the anthem together and his father was very proud of his son playing for South Africa. Jacques told me that he sings the anthem in his heart in a quiet moment in remembrance of his parents and in gratitude for what they did to allow him to be good enough to represent his country."

South Africans are obsessed with the look rather than the meaning, and there's nothing like superficiality mixed with a skewed sense of patriotism to get the mob going. "Showing leadership" as seen in the ASA and the Eskom sagas is about making grand statements in public rather than actually doing the graft to put things on the right path.

Sascoc have shown leadership in their handling of ASA, Barbara Hogan did so with Eskom. Butana Komphela shouts, but does nothing constructive, so does Julius Malema, who will one day flap his lips too loudly even for the ANC, and the less said about the leadership qualities of the sports ministry the better.

Dumisani's singing of the anthem was not the reason the Springboks were done by France; there are much better excuses: this is a tour too far for the Boks, one they should not have gone on.

There was more to lose than to gain after a season in which they beat the Lions, won the Vodacom Tri-Nations and regained their status as No.1 in the world. Victor Matfield has been playing rugby since February, and when he gets home has but a few weeks off until pre-season training for the Bulls in George begins. Madness.

Thankfully, Dumisani gave South Africa the excuse they needed to deflect from a horrid match in which the Springboks were smashed by the French. Perhaps we could repay whichever European team tours here next June by getting Vernon Koekemoer to sing their anthem.

Damn, that would be funny.

(The original article can be found here.)

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