The defeat of the Springboks at the hands of the All Blacks during our national team’s debut match at the 2019 Rugby World Cup may not have been the only humiliation South Africa suffered on Saturday, with many rugby fans on social media criticising SA supporters for chanting while the New Zealand team performed the haka.
This move on the part of the bokke fans present at the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan was called “disrespectful” by some on social media.
The Sunday Times agreed, writing in its report on the match on Sunday morning that “yesterday’s 23-13 defeat of the Springboks was not the only pain to be suffered by SA. A group of South African fans spoilt the moment of the haka with undignified chanting of ‘Olé, olé'”.
“It was vile, uncouth and uncultured,” the report continued.
While most appeared to be critical of the chanting, some argued that there was nothing disrespectful about the chants of “Olé, olé” as the haka may be seen as an intimidation tactic and the Springbok fans were merely attempting to counter this.
Irish journalist Andy McGeady, meanwhile, expressed the view that teams facing the All Blacks, as well as their fans, should be allowed to react to the haka in any way they wish.
“The haka is fine. Have at it. But mandating that the opposition stand there nicely to face it, on threat of a fine, is a load of rubbish,” he tweeted.
The haka is a Maori traditional, ceremonial dance, accompanied by chanting. It has been used by the All Blacks before matches since 1988. According to Wikipedia, while the dances are often associated with warriors and seen as a war chant, “haka are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals.”
WARNING: Many of the tweets below contain offensive language.