The Mercury

Local students take up the Haka


INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener brings us some informatio­n in his latest grumpy newsletter that I’m sure most of us were unaware of. Who knew that in the Varsity Shield rugby competitio­n, Walter Sisulu University (from the region once known as Border) have been performing the New Zealand Haka before the game?

“Among the reasons they have provided for this choice of a foreign symbol is that they admire the way the All Blacks play. Further, they have won three World Cups. Er, yes. So has another team called the Bokke.

“Anyway, after receiving a polite and kind letter from New Zealand rugby, the WSU fellows have stopped making fools of themselves but, to be fair, it did seem to work. They beat Rhodes 63-10.”

Sympathies to James Greener. Rhodes is his alma mater.

Zulu dance

THE Haka is indeed a magnificen­t, if somewhat gruesome, pre-match ritual. There was a time long ago when the Boks would match it with a Zulu dance, the fellows singing Jio Lele Mama, a splendid song which was also sung in rugby clubs all over this province. Springbok skipper Phillip Nel, from Greytown and fluent in Zulu, would lead them in it.

But that was a very long time ago. It fizzled in 1949 when the Nats, who had just come to power, refused to allow Maori players to tour with the All Blacks. The Haka is a Maori ritual, so the All Blacks dropped it in protest. And so the Boks dropped Jio Lele Mama, never to reinstate it. Sad really. Maybe the WSU students mentioned earlier could pick it up.

Pink pants

WATCHING a Varsity Cup match the other evening between KZN Impi (our local students) and Fort Hare Blues, people remarked that one of our guys was wearing bright pink shorts, the rest of the team black. What was this? Had he brought along his beach baggies by mistake?

But no, it seems the pink shorts denote that he is captain. How rugby has changed. In my day, the skipper was identifiab­le by a red rose tucked behind one ear.

Lots of ice lollies

THE perils of the internet … four-yearold Noah Bryant, of New York, somehow managed to order from Amazon 51 cases of SpongeBob ice lollies. They were delivered to his aunt’s home, according to Sky News, along with a bill for his mum of $2 618 (about R36 800). But there’s a happy ending. A friend has helped set up a fund-raiser to pay, and contributi­ons are pouring in from all over America.

They don’t tell us how Noah pulled it off. Perhaps wisely. They don’t want other four-year-olds placing orders.


“I WAS raised by a pack of wild hyenas. Life was tough and food was scarce … but boy, did we laugh.”

Last word

A FOOLISH consistenc­y is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophe­rs and divines.

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