I have a confession. Sometimes I try to distance myself from South Africans. Like watching the Currie Cup final this weekend, at a local Irish pub. We were unfortunate enough to arrive after a group of young South African girls, who were already dominating the front tables at the big screen. Right from the start, it was obvious that it was going to be a long match to watch.
First, they were noisy. Very very noisy. They were a group of about 15 twenty-somethings I guess, who did not speak, or talk, but rather screeched and squawked. Mostly in Afrikaans, with a colourful vocab that made even my ears burn.
When you're in a pub with expats, a large number of whom who can speak Dutch and understand Afrikaans, this is extremely embarrassing. The Dutch think of Afrikaans as baby talk. Less developed and civilised. The kind of talk where you would pat the head of the person attempting to communicate and reward them with a patronising lollypop. When Afrikaans is used in this context, at this volume, it could seem to add weight to how uncivilised this little previous Dutch outpost still is.
We soon concluded that these girls weren't actually rugby fans. They certainly weren't there for the after-game discussion and contemplation of the Springbok squad. We gathered this because the girls SCREAMED every time the Shark/Bull logo was shown, every time the change room was shown and every time the spectators were shown, but oddly enough were not interested when the teams ran onto the field and the match actually began.
Instead, this was when these delicate wallflowers decided to out-support each other by screaming into each other's face, pulling zaps across the room and shouting SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! at each other. It was delightful. Other South Africans in the room cringed, while some non-South Africans went home - deciding they weren't that interested in the rugby to sit through a full 80 minutes of this torment.
One of the girls, with the same size and endearing charm of Kelly Osborne on drugs, took to screaming in the faces of random, unrelated supporters sitting behind her. Particularly shrieking (in a tone that set the neighbourhood dogs howling) at everyone in the pub to SHUT UUUUUUP! every time the Sharks were lining up for a penalty. The fact that everyone stared at her in stunned silence did not deter her from shouting this catchy refrain through the kick (missed or not). Kelly later ended her evening (a good effort at 7pm) by puking all over herself.
Truly charming. And so proudly South African too.
On the flip side, that same night I met a Swedish gentleman who did his nation proud by explaining to me that he was staunchly right-wing and did not believe in racial and class mingling. And that Nelson Mandela should still be on the recognised terrorist list. I asked him if he truly believed that a 90-year-old man, who can hardly stumble across a stage, was really a risk to world peace... but that was just as Kelly Osborne graced the pub with her gastro-technic skills so we never got to finish that conversation.
All types, eh?