7th June, 2012
South Africa have received an official apology from British hockey bosses Wednesday after the apartheid-era anthem ‘Die Stem’ was mistakenly played before their match in the pre-Olympic London Cup on Tuesday.
An outstanding Investec South Africa womenís hockey team, superbly led by Marsha Marescia, beat world Number 4 Great Britain 3-1 after leading 2-0 at halftime on the first day of the Investec London Cup in Chiswick on Tuesday.
Marissa Langeni, Chief Executive of the South African Hockey Association, in a letter to tournament organisers, said the country ‘watched with disbelief as our team stood through what clearly was a most embarrassing and uncomfortable experience’.
South Africaís women went on to beat their British counterparts 3-1 in their opening game and GB Hockey apologised Wednesday for their embarrassing error.
ìGreat Britain Hockey, the organiser of the Investec London Cup, offers a full and unreserved apology to the South African women’s hockey team and their supporters for mistakenly playing the wrong national anthem before South Africa’s match with Great Britain on Tuesday afternoon,î chief executive Sally Munday said.
ìThe error was made by a contractor responsible for sports presentation at the event.
ìStandard procedure would be to check anthems to be played with visiting teams in advance, however, on this occasion that did not happen and Great Britain Hockey accepts full responsibility.
ìGreat Britain Hockey and its contractor appreciate the sensitive nature of this unfortunate mistake and we apologise unreservedly for the offence caused.
ìThe correct anthem will be played before all of South Africa’s remaining matches.î
Since 1997, the South African national anthem has been a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the anti-apartheid hymn ‘Nkosi Sikelel Afrika’ (God Bless Africa) as well as a verse of ‘Die Stem’.