The popular Afrikaans singer stepped up to belt out the national anthem at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Monday night, before the title decider between Maties and Tuks. He got through the opening verse and chorus well enough, but came unstuck in the second.
In a video clip that went viral, the Kaptein hitmaker is heard stumbling over the isiZulu and Sesotho part of the anthem.
He got the first line out - “Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso” - but instead of continuing with “O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho”, Darren repeated the last line of the first stanza, singing: “Yizwa imithandazo, yethu.”
Two Tuks players were caught on camera having a giggle, but the crowd continued with Darren to the end.
“So, I will always take the singing of our anthem seriously. I would never intentionally mess up the lines, why on earth would I? I was obviously caught up in the moment of singing a cappella with 20000 students and mixed up the words of a line, and I apologise profusely for that,” Darren said. But his apology wasn't easily accepted.
@FMohokare tweeted: “It’s not a mistake to forget the words of our national anthem, it’s stupidity and ignorance. You are a South African citizen, Kurt, therefore, respect yourself and refuse to sing our national anthem if you don't know the words. Did you get paid for that? Give them back their money.”
Grethe Kemp @the_rantingpony added: “Kurt Darren and every white South African who cannot sing our anthem correctly: you are embarrassing and the reason we can't have nice things. School yourself. It's 2019.”
Former sports minister and ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said: “He made a mistake. He must apologise and we move on.”
Earlier, Darren told Eusebius McKaiser on talk radio 702: “Why on earth am I trending? I'm not going to disrespect our anthem, I love singing it. It is always an honour to sing our anthem. I woke up to this massive storm, and it's so funny to me is it really news?
Responding to the backlash, Darren told McKaiser: “Yes, I messed up one line in the anthem but singing in front of 20000 students at the Varsity Cup final is a completely different animal to singing to a Test or Super 15, it's just crazy I know the anthem, I know I was there to sing it and do it properly and it's weird that it erupted this way.”
McKaiser then asked, “Why did you not know the lines though? It's the national anthem; you had 25 years to learn it.”
To this, Darren responded: “Are you carrying on with it now?”
But McKaiser pressed on, saying: “You are a professional singer, 25 years later, you had only one job to do.”
Darren sighed, then said, “Anyway, alright have a lekker day,” before dropping the line.