Abafana baseMzansi - Part 1

Memba Ben By Memba Ben, 26th Jul 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Football (Soccer)

Continuing the look back on South African football,the series will shift focus from the formative years of South African football and the readmission of the South African national team (Bafana Bafana) up till present day.

The Tale of the Southern Boys.

There is a sound effect which is known worldwide that South Africans have inverted to show indifference/apathy towards something so when you hear someone use it, it's usually a sign that a person doesn't care about whatever it is you may be talking about.

The sound?


While the sound itself is no mystery, its mystery comes from its South African adaptation. It's a bit hard to explain but the annunciation is similar to the way dentists ask you to open your mouth but the main difference is in the tone with which it is said so while the classic usage may be to open ones mouth or express pain/surprise such as:

Ah or AH!

The South African version draws the A out much longer and the tone is one of a whine/moan so it would sound like:


As I said, it's hard to explain but if you ever get the chance to hear a South African use it, you'll understand exactly what I meant.

In South Africa (more especially sports), the sound has become synonymous with our national football team which over the years, has went from being a nations pride (and an African contender) to becoming a meme and whenever the team plays and the result is unsatisfactory; if you went up to any fan around the country and ask them what they thought of the team, the response will almost always be:

Ah, Bafana...

Though I can only speculate, I believe this has less to do with how the team plays (they actually play some pretty entertaining football with an emphasis on pace, trickery and counterattacking) and more to do with the country’s disillusionment with the teams failure to match their predecessors achievements.

One could argue that the same logic could be applied to the Proteas (the South African national cricket team) as they themselves haven't won anything of significance but the fault in that logic is that the Proteas have consistently proven themselves to be one of the best teams in the world with their most recent ODI, Test and T20 rankings (as of the 16th of July) being 3rd, 2nd and 6th respectively whereas Bafana Bafana’s current FIFA ranking as of the 7th of June is 74.

Could it be that ever since the Legends of '96, we South Africans expect too much of the current crop? Should the current crop of footballers be doing better especially considering the advances made in coaching, fitness, nutrition and sports sciences over the past twenty or so years?

Or are South African fans just overestimating how good our footballers actually are?


Football, Football Soccer, History, Soccer, South Africa

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author avatar Memba Ben
A fan's view on the business of football.

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