South African duo back ‘Swing Low’
The Rugby Football Union has been urged not to ban the singing of
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot at Twickenham, by a South African duo who have recorded a version of the song to help combat racism.
The RFU is conducting a review of the use of the song, as well as the use of branding featuring its lyrics, after concerns were raised about its slavery origins.
Cape Town-based Bianca Solomons and Maritza Truter, whose song is to be released next week in response to the racism issues raised by the killing of George Floyd, say any move to ban the song would send the wrong message.
Solomons, a 17-year-old black singer who was adopted by a white woman when she was four months old, and suffered racial abuse during her childhood, said that England supporters instead needed to be educated about the song and that it should be promoted as a means of uniting, not dividing people.
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is a gospel song,” said Solomons, who has been hailed in South Africa as the best teenage classical singer since Charlotte Church.
“Using this song is a very good opportunity to show people that colour doesn’t matter. Everybody has the same voice.
“It is so hard to see black versus white and people being killed, but it still goes on and I want to make a difference with this song.”
Truter, who is from an Afrikaner background and has had several hits in South Africa, said: “The England supporters have not been educated about what the song is about, really. The song comes from the black community.
“Bianca is a black girl and I am a white girl and it gives out a positive message about being together instead of being apart.”
Solomons and Truter said they would be keen to perform the song at Twickenham in November if it would help educate supporters about its true meaning.