It’s world cup rugby time, which means there is a new anthem from South African comedian and rugby fan Leon Schuster. In the song Leon, as he has often done before, mocks the other nations at the world cup in a lighthearted manner, while endorsing the Springboks. This time however many fans have complained about what they perceive as racism, in the song as well as a “gratuitous use of Madiba”.
Indeed the song does begin with Leon doing a deeply mocking “Japanese” accent complete with slipped Rs and Ls, something which when committed by other prominent white figures has been deemed to be racist. Such was the case when Donald Trump attempted South-Korean and Japanese accents on a recent tour.
One commentator on the song’s Youtube post, Martin Evans said, “”Nice. Started out with racism, slid effortlessly into cultural appropriation, segwayed (sic) into some musical plagiarism and ended with gratuitous use of Madiba. Figured at the least you could have blurred out the images of those poor kids. They have to be associated with this drivel for life. Oh, and Good luck to the Bokke.”
Meanwhile, journalist Lester Kiewit tweeted, “It’s that time every four years where Leon Schuster brings out a new rugby world cup song. I won’t force this flaming dumpster of turds on your TL’s. But yes, racism and unoriginality is involved. Seek it on youtube if you want to ruin your day.”
It's that time every four years where Leon Schuster brings out a new rugby world cup song. I won't force this flaming dumpster of turds on your TL's. But yes, racism and unoriginality is involved.
Seek it on youtube if you want to ruin your day.
— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) September 2, 2019
The song, which ends with a shot of a beaming Mandela waving at the opening ceremony for the Rugby world cup in 1995, seems to be using his image to endorse the contents of the song, but this is not so says one of the song’s producers Don Clarke, who denies any of the accusations of racism levelled at the song in a Facebook post on his page.
“I cannot for the life of me see where you arrive at “racism”?!,” he says before adding, “Those ‘poor kids’ who you speak of are pupils at two of the most prestigious private schools in South Africa. One is Michaelhouse, which needs no introduction, and the other is The Drakondale Girls Choir school which was founded by my wife and John Tunguy who started the legendary Drakensberg Boys Choir School 50 years ago. In both cases, the pupils were thrilled to be part of a Leon Schuster song. Leon, by the way, has a massive black following in this country. Now I suppose you’re going to take me to task for using the word “black”?”
Clarke further takes Evans to task saying, “I have no idea what you mean by “cultural appropriation”, but if you mean the use of indigenous flavours in the arrangement of the song, you had better send a message to the late Johnny Clegg in the Hereafter admonishing him for this sin as well.”
You can watch the video here and make up your own mind.