Umlilo Uhlala Utshisa – The Proteas’ team song

Did you know that the Proteas have a team song? I never knew about it. Or that usually after winning a game they would shout “Bokke!”.

The song is called “Umlilo Uhlala Utshisa” and, translated from Xhosa, it means “The Fire keeps burning”. The one thing the mighty Proteas have been doing this past couple of months against Australia and Sri Lanka.

According to  the song is the brainchild of AB de Villiers, and was composed with the idea of merging the past, present and future generations of Proteas players.

“It was during the 2011 World Cup during our stay in Bangalore that I first decided to write a team song,” de Villiers said. “We didn’t really have a song that we identified with as a squad so I felt that it would be a good idea to put something together.

“I wanted to write a song that featured English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, a little bit similar to our national anthem and also representative of the different cultures that we have in the Proteas family. We wanted a song we could all relate to, sing passionately and make our own, not just for today but for future generations to come.”

The lyrics to the song reads:

Umlilo Uhlala Utshisa
Umlio Uhlala Utshisa
Umlio Uhlala Utshisa
To those before us and those to come, today tomorrow we’ll play as one
To the team – PROTEAS

I found it really weird that the Proteas shouted “Bokke!” after winning a game. Especially considering the fact that they’re nicknamed the Proteas and wear a Protea on their chest as the Official Cricket South Africa-logo. I couldn’t find any information on whether the Proteas were called the Springboks at an earlier stage. Maybe someone can educate me on that, if it was the case?

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Here is another piece of interesting, related information I found while doing research on the matter. A member on the sharing website writes:

“Many people don’t know that the Protea flower is adapted to survive ravaging veld fires. It needs the heat and intensity of fire in order to sustain its species. It produces new growth after a fire and grows back stronger. The Protea is also named after Proteus, the god in Greek mythology who was adaptable and could change into many forms and do what was needed to survive. Under the leadership of Graeme Smith this ethos of Protea Fire was started and now continues to grow. This team is made of South Africa. United in their differences. The diversity amongst them provides the stimulus to leave behind a lasting legacy. Something for children to aspire to. From a country torn apart when times were tough, when they were down and out, they went on to win games out of nowhere and were crowned the number one test team in the world. In 2014 the team decided they wanted South Africans to know more about who they are. Who they play for and what it means to them to be Proteas.” (sic)

The theory of the Protea’s resilience to fire is backed up by botanists here.

Let’s now just hope that this #ProteaFire can help current Protea-coach Russel Domingo keep his job.



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