I've Never Met a Nice South African

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"I've Never Met a Nice South African" is a satirical song originating in a sketch on the British television series Spitting Image (series 2, episode 5). It was written by John Lloyd and Peter Brewis and was sung by Andy Roberts. In 1986 it was commercially released as the B-side of the chart-topping "The Chicken Song".[1] When the song was recorded, South Africa was under a apartheid regime and widely considered a pariah state as a result.

The song is narrated in the music video by a seasoned expatriate traveller who describes his unlikely and more often outright impossible experiences to a bored bartender (Lord Lucan). The narrator has met the Loch Ness Monster, had a close encounter ("of the 22nd kind, that's when an alien spaceship disappears up your behind!"), seen unicorns in Burma, met a working Yorkshire miner, had lunch with Rowan Atkinson when "he paid and wasn't late", and had a sunstroke in the Arctic, but despite all these exotic experiences, he has never met a nice South African. The lyrics bluntly describe South Africans in a variety of insulting ways, such as "arrogant bastards who hate black people", "ignorant loud-mouths with no sense of humour" and "terrorist murderers who smell like baboons". The chorus is sung by a number of gun-toting white South Africans, out on safari wearing Springbok jerseys. As the song progresses, dead animals are piled up on their jeep and the barman becomes ever sleepier before collapsing on the floor.

In the closing verse, the South African chorus names writer and anti-apartheid activist Breyten Breytenbach, exceptionally, as "quite a nice South African" who has "hardly ever killed anyone," and say "that's why we put him in prison". At the time Breytenbach had, as the song points out, been living in exile in Paris and had been previously imprisoned by the South African regime for his interracial marriage. It has also been speculated that the song was also poking fun at the South African-born series producer, Jon Blair.


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