‘Feet of the Chameleon’ and Stories of African Football


Panini stickers of the ill-fated 1974 Zaire squad (from the blog ‘Zaire 1974′)
“‘Feet of the Chameleon’, the title phrase of Ian Hawkey’s excellent recent book on African football, comes from a coinage of South African commentator Zama Masondo—who was trying to familiarize and localize slow motion television replays for Zulu-speaking rural audiences. For members of that audience who were new to television of any sort, the replays were confusing. They thought ‘something had gone wrong with their TV sets at first.’ So, Masondo explained to Hawkey, rather than just saying ‘Now for the replay’ the commentator used the phrase ‘Ngonyawo lo nwabu’ which means ‘Now let’s see it again with the feet of the chameleon.’” (Pitch Invasion)

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