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Black and Afrikaans

Black and Afrikaans

by Zoe Henry / 09.04.2010

The time: Easter weekend 2010. The place: Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn. The vibe: Aggressive. There aren’t punches being thrown or bottles being smashed over people’s heads. Not yet anyway. But it is aggressively Afrikaans, and it’s aggressively white. It’s like they taught you in Standard Two history, when the Voortrekkers would create a laager out of their wagons to protect themselves. Perhaps the organisers and patrons of the KKNK are not trying to keep outsiders out, or even themselves in, but it feels like an exclusive club, and if you’re not white, and like me, you don’t speak Afrikaans, you don’t belong.

At the 2009 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Brett Bailey put on an exhibition called “Terminal”. The exhibition involved a small black child – one per exhibition goer – leading the visitor around the deserted Grahamstown train station and railway tracks. Along the journey there were black adults, their faces concealed behind stockings, rendering them faceless. One of the questions Bailey’s exhibition was asking was why racism as perpetrated by white English speaking South Africans, as in Grahamstown, is often glossed over. Whereas racism from white Afrikaners, as in Oudtshoorn, is vilified and considered the norm?

Welcome to Ostrich Country

Yes, yes, I’m sure there are many white people living in both Grahamstown and Oudtshoorn who don’t consider themselves to be racist, and I’m sure some of their best friends are black. But one can’t ignore that for nearly every small, predominantly white town in South Africa, whether it’s English or Afrikaans-speaking, there’s a neighbouring township sprawling across the landscape where the majority of the area’s black population are living in squalor. In the midst of the “Kill the Boer” struggle song debate followed closely by the horrifically brutal murder of not just any boer, but the boer, this may be somewhat of a contentious subject. But Bailey has a point – why is it that racism from white Afrikaners is so much more demonised than that from their English speaking brethren? Did English speaking white people not benefit just as much from the apartheid system as white Afrikaners? In the wise words of Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”, and it is certain that many white English speakers stood by during apartheid and did nothing, and continue to stand by and do nothing, even today. And one could argue that this apathy masquerading as liberalism is even more disturbing because it’s insidious and inherently dishonest.

On your knees, sinner!

Back to Oudtshoorn. According to the 2001 census, 55.3% of Western Cape residents speak Afrikaans as their home language. The same census shows that only 18.4% of the province is white, so it stands to reason that the majority of the Afrikaans speakers aren’t white. Why then are the non-white Afrikaans speakers not more present at the province’s largest Afrikaans Arts Festival, in terms of both festival goers and performers? Sure, there were a few coloured people on the streets of Oudtshoorn, but they were generally working at stalls or singing a song on a street corner for some spare change. The KKNK appears on the surface to be a celebration of white Afrikaans culture, an event that has no space for, or cognisance of, the overwhelming non-white majority of Afrikaans speakers. Is this glaring segregation owing merely to cultural, social and economic differences? Is it a problem of a lack of funding? Or is it possibly the old Voortrekker mentality of forming a laager around their culture, keeping it protected from the rest of the country, including the darker hued Afrikaners?

Patricia Lewis watch out

It’s Good Friday and the mercury has swelled to the 34-degree line. Trainers are melting onto the tar as people drift aimlessly from stall to stall in search of some shade and something to quench their perpetual thirst. We find refuge in one of the music tents. A poppie with dreams of being the next Patricia Lewis jumps around on stage and winks at me as I take her picture. It’s just gone 10am and the bar has donned its open sign. It’s never too early for a brannewyn en Coke out here. There are a few posters advertising the finest in Afrikaans theatre, but if one were to judge on the posters alone, this is a boeremusiek fees through and through. The glistening abs of Eden and Jay overlook the passers-by. Amore Vittone smiles seductively from her piece of cardboard twined to a pole. It’s remarkable how erotic these posters are – homo and otherwise. Nearly every artist is clad in minimal attire accompanied with a ‘come hither’ look. Dozi attempts sexy and mysterious while co-star Nianell shows a bit of bronzed leg.

My abs do the talking

Hopefully Dozi’s smirk has been replaced with a sheepish look since he is being forced to apologise for loudly telling his friends over dinner that “black people do not know how to govern the country” and using the word ‘kaffir’ not once, not twice, but three times. While white English speakers are standing by doing nothing, white Afrikaners like Dozi are saying black people can’t run the country. Perhaps it’s this sort of behaviour that makes white Afrikaners an easy target for demonisation. And maybe that’s part of the reason the face of the KKNK is so pale.

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  1. doos says:

    The time: 17 March, 2010. The place: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, JHB. The vibe: Aggressive. There are punches being thrown and people are being harassed by the president’s bodyguards.

    Get. A. Fucking. Life.

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  2. doos says:

    The time: 09 April, 2010. The place: Luthuli House, JHB. The vibe: Aggressive. There are insults being thrown and people are being harassed and threatened by the ANCYL bodyguards.
    Not yet anyway. But it is aggressively ANC, and it’s aggressively black. It’s like they taught you in Standard Two history…

    Who wrote the above piece?

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  3. Stumpy says:

    Someone who reads too much David Forster Wallace.

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  4. down to business says:

    There have been a few articles on mahala in recent days which have been overtly critical of white South African attitudes and actions. I am sure that these assertions are well-meaning and delivered in the interests of nation-building and sociopolitical harmony, but to my mind the generality and vagueness with which they are delivered is problematic and will probably lead to more friction and backlash than positive action.

    So my challenge to mahala is as follows: please be more explicit and concrete about what you think white South Africans should be doing. How should they be spending their precious spare time and hard-earned money to contribute to the social upliftment of this nation beyond what they are already doing? Should EVERY white person, irrespective of age, be learning at least one “African” language? Should community service of some sort be mandatory? Should there be a deliberate and conscious shirking of all Eurocentric cultural activity and an adoption of African equivalents, no matter how uncomfortable that may seem?

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  5. Eish says:

    Passive aggressive wannabe liberal shit like this is taking this site down the tubes.

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  6. Genius Spade says:

    Yeah, bring back Montle!

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  7. SA History, Std 1 says:

    Arnoldus Pannevis

    “A part-time missionary, Pannevis was at first moved by the plight of the coloured population of the Western Cape whose educational opportunities were even poorer than those of the Dutch-Afrikaners. He was greatly concerned that thousands of them were unable to understand the Bible in either Dutch or English. In 1872 he made a plea in the Zuid-Afrikaan that for their sake the Bible be translated into Afrikaans, a language spoken by the vast majority of them.”

    Preferred Citation: Vail, Leroy, editor. The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa. London Berkeley: Currey University of California Press, 1989. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft158004rs/

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  8. Dude says:

    I’m sorry but one of the biggest issues is that the coloured community just does not buy into “Afrikaans” culture.

    Try speaking Afrikaans to a coloured person in Cape Town and you get the dirtiest fucking look you’ll ever see, or often just ignored.

    That is their perogative as a community, but I don’t think you can blame the KKNK, least of all the organisers who have tried year after year to create an inclusive atmosphere, for being a white-centric event.

    I remember a similar article on Oppikoppi in the Mail & Guardian some years ago, where a black journalist also described “feeling threatened” among the mostly Afrikaans, overwhelmingly white crowd. Get over it – I think all South Africans feel “threatened” nowadays when they aren’t in their similarly hued huddles of volk. Doesn’t mean some one wants to hatecrime your ass.

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  9. oh says:

    i could never understand why people would want to go to outshoorn.

    jirre it looks bleak.

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  10. kak says:

    Let’s play bully the Afrikaners! We had a black government for 15 years now, the majority poor is in control. People are still being identified as black and white by the government. And now much more than ever Afrikaans and black. What are black people doing to include Afrikaners in their events? And for the English South Africans you are nowhere. Lets not forget your contribution to our history.
    Andy Davis this is by far the most boring backward article on mahala, it’s not 1996 anymore!

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  11. Boring says:

    Agree! Im so tired of “the liberal English” always poking fun at the Afrikaners, maybe if you didn’t do this to them apartheid would never have happened

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  12. Brotherly Love says:

    Jesus – listen to what he says at 6.00min on that video.

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  13. Lungi says:

    Y must we focus on history now?lets try 2 shape da future&4get about what da blacks n whites did it wont get us anywhere.

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  14. Author? says:

    Did she have a nice time at the B&B with the delicious karoo breakfast served by the nice aya?

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  15. hannes says:

    Who wrote this shit? Bet it was that commie dooslap Brandon Edmonds…

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  16. Yukio Mishima says:

    i like these articles from Mahala.

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  17. Guilt says:

    After reading this, I walked outside, wracked with guilt, and gave the gardener my house keys, my wallet and cellphone and ushered him into my office. I showed him how the mouse works, and where you need to click it to open emails. I asked him, in broken Zulu, to just let everyone know that he is now in my place – all queries will be dealt with by him, bills will be paid by him, he will need to learn my trade and make sure the other employees get their wages, while competing for tenders on an international scale, where political affiliations do not guarantee getting the work.

    I went outside again, took up the weed eater (petrol, two stroke) and carried on. It’s pretty hot out there. I was sweating, burning in the watery autumn sun of Africa. My clothing and shoes painfully unsuitable for the job.

    20 minutes later, the gardener came back outside. He told me, in perfect English, that he felt uncomfortable, that he would prefer to do the job he knew how to do. He handed my keys, wallet and cellphone back, and asked for a glass of water.

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  18. Walt Kidney says:

    After reading Guilt, I walked outside, crawling with scorn, and marched the gardener into my open plan office overlooking Clifton, and told him, in broken Xhosa, to read the Guilt scenario: he skimmed it and laughed, throwing back his wet brown head, saying, “Way to elide the ravages of Bantu Education…what a self-regarding, racist fuck – is there a way to track him down via his IP address? Me and a coupla prison buff Rastas would love to run a train on his pillowy white ass!”

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  19. Steak and kidney says:

    I thought Rastafari were peace loving?

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  20. down to business says:

    I’m waiting……

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  21. Anonymous says:

    The Afrikaners are africans. South Africans.
    They have a rich and colurful history
    (And. Shock. Horror. Gasp. Like every nation on this planet, there is the good, the bad and the ugly).
    They have every right, just as every other nation on this earth, to preserve and rejoice in that history and their heritage (obviously in a respectful manner)

    Are people of colour banned from KKNK?

    Mahala…do the country a favour and have some respect for other cultures and their (full) history.

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  22. black guilt says:

    “Should EVERY white person, irrespective of age, be learning at least one “African” language? Should community service of some sort be mandatory”

    this is the stuff that the nats managed to negotiate out of the way-this is just the begining of what all white south africans should do -we where allowed to stay here and most of us are still alive so get with the program or fuck off-otherwise you gonna get ur panga pals -ya shure the ANC are fucking up but that aint being helped by the racist morons who pride in being “taxpayers” so for some whiteys being a taxpayer buys you the right to be a racist doos-fuckoff cause thats what fucked up zim and its happening here-and dont think its just radical afrikaners-the old colonial english ex rhodie types are the worst-treating black people like dogs – u made malema now get off your high horses [or fall off] and deal with your inbred racism and apartheid tendancies or fuck off to a trailor park somewhere across the oceans- oh and fuck all white liberals who feel guilty -thats pathetic-Biko had no time for you so toughen up and become africans-yes and all us internet geeks-there is no such thing as virtual farming-and finally fuck the ANC for planning the second revolution from the start and thus not dealing with the land issue-they bargained on white farmers behaving like rhodesians[ not all of them thats the sad part] and now its played out…..eishhhhhhh-imagine if 15 years ago there had been a concerted effort to make all farmworkers shareholders in the farms-would have been choas -BUT not nearly as chaotic as what will happen now-the TRC was meant to pay out 3BILLION in compensation ….but there was no money…..now we just spent 3billion per new staduim at TODAYS PRICESS- so finally fuck international croney capitalism for choosing 1994 as its peak year and pissing on our parade!

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  23. show don't tell says:

    You could have written this article without even going to the KKNK.
    I have always admired Mahala for its festival articles. Why? Because usually the writers work their way up from the minute detail towards the general ideas of mood/vibe etc.
    Showing and not telling is what has made me like this sites articles.
    This (nameless?) writer has jumped right in with his pseudo-leftist attitudes, overlooking the jokes probably told in the bars, the skanky girls, the fat afrikaans tannies, the brannewyn and coke, the Stellenbosch theatre snobs – in short the meat of the story.

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  24. Hey, Black Guilt says:

    Here’s where my tax money goes – what does yours buy?


    Zim indeed. You’ll get your panga too, when everything else is gone and whoever’s left turn on each other, fucko.

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  25. Charles Bukowski says:

    born like this, into this.

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  26. adam says:

    You people are revealing your own biases and in some cases, violent tendencies – reinforcing the author’s observations. Get a grip people, someone has a perspective and an experience and has written about it and you have all jumped in without actually taking the time to understand what was written here. Take a deep breath, read it again, and try to understand. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t read opinion articles.

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  27. Jason says:

    Hey, i lived there for two years. Love the place. Pretty narrow take on the fees. Were you even there?

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  28. Afrimoon says:

    andy, has any mahala article ever got this bad a rating?

    kiff-kak : 3-11?

    so idiotically lame, it’s difficult to come up with adjectives, similar as when trying to describe malema

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  29. brandon edmonds says:

    You’re just about right, Down to Business. What is the role of local whiteness here and now? We’re in a precarious State. We’re unsettled settlers. Thing is to keep going. Keep asking who we are and why we’re here and keep inventing new and better ‘ways of staying’. Keep behaving naturally. Knowing ‘race’ is a power setting used by the self-serving and an aggregating abstraction that seldom (if ever) chimes with our reality. Know others know its bullshit. There are many of us who set race aside in our daily lives. Who know real problems are about access and opportunity. Mahala needs to be a site where new ‘meldings’ emerge: producing ideas of selfhood attuned to the facts of the country – not some masochistic mirage of racial fear and loathing. Right, I’ll just lead my high horse back to its stable and let you all get on with your day!

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  30. Andy says:

    it’s an observation and a poignant one. I have been the KKNK three times and each time felt the same, “why is black Afrikaans culture not adequately represented here?”

    The country is aflame with racist oversensitivity at the moment. Partially because after Mandela and 1994 the majority of white south africans felt that reconciliation had been achieved, a fait accompli, when instead Mandela et al. just gave us the blue print. But the hard work had not even started. Mbeki and Zuma to a large degree have fudged the issue without offering any real leadership towards building “the rainbow nation”. Primarily because the politics of race is an easy default position for dealing with criticism. The ANC is largely involved in the politics of the feeding trough. But it’s naive to expect the government to solve our problems.

    The truth is that the debilitating racism we continue to experience in South Africa is entrenched by the huge economic disparities that constitute the reality of this place.

    Whites have not done enough to relieve these tensions. And they/we should have done more, considering how powerful, educated and enabled the white community in South Africa is. And until the basic inequalities of this country are addressed, the kind of populist and racist drivel spouted by Malema, in his naked pursuit of personal power, will continue to ring true for the majority of poor people.

    I’m hoping that these debates, and the crisis we’re facing around Malema and racism, will bring out “the real South Africans”. Because we need to build our rainbow nation now.

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  31. G says:

    Jesus, that video is hardcore

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  32. Boring says:

    brandon, don’t “we” you are an unsettled settler!
    Glad to see the piece got a name behind it,
    Zoe Henry’s linkedin profile…
    I did a two-month internship at Marie Claire Magazine. My duties included researching and writing the shorter articles such as sidebars, celebrity profiles, album and movie reviews, and “Eye on the World” stories. I also did research for the other writers, as well as miscellaneous duties around the office such as scanning and organising shelves. I worked closely with the Features Writer and Features Editor.

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  33. Boring says:

    @andy “But it’s naive to expect the government to solve our problems.”
    this is a racist comment by itself

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  34. down to business says:

    Hey Brandon, as usual you are eloquent and semantically impressive. But as before you’re hiding behind abstract and purely conceptual issues when the situation on the ground requires a far more practical approach. Everyday South Africans need to do more than our failing politicians, and that means moving beyond discussing the principles behind such challenges and taking concrete action.

    So does your response mean that you endorse the actions I have suggested? If so, how many of these have you embarked upon personally, in order to lead the way not only through rhetoric but also through the example of action?

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  35. Breyten Breytenbach says:

    i’ve written about this.

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  36. G says:

    I think it depends on your perception and worldview. I see Andy’s comment as relating to ALL governments around the world….not just ours…governments the world over have proved countless times that they cannot be counted on…

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  37. Zebulon Dread says:

    ive also written about this. google, ‘Arts fest or Boerfest’.

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  38. Dan Roodt says:

    i wrote a response to Dread’s eloquent, but inflammatory and disrespectful article.

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  39. Stumpy says:

    Zebulon Dread is still alive?

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  40. brandon edmonds says:

    Hey DTB – who died and made your arbitrary list ‘the example of action’? I do what I do. How about you?

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  41. Anonymous says:

    “it’s an observation and a poignant one. I have been the KKNK three times and each time felt the same, “why is black Afrikaans culture not adequately represented here?”

    Would that not be partly on the shoulders of the Black/Coloured artists/playwrights/agents to actually submit proposals and get their work out there? Why are Afrikaans Black people not making their culture/projects available?

    Why is the assumption that they have been excluded, purposely?

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  42. Andre Visagie says:

    take away this shit! THANKS BYE!

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  43. Julius Malema says:

    good riddance.

    bastard. you bloody agent!

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  44. bye says:

    this shit aint going away-you gonna be the one that goes away-sorry-bye

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  45. Andy says:

    this is a revolutionary house. Jump!

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  46. Afrimoon says:


    Everyday SA’ns are the very reason this country has not gone up in flames.

    They can do no more.

    Not recognizing that, and claiming that white SA’ns should do more while they’re getting slaughtered, is an insult to every white SA’n who ARE making a difference.

    The problem lies with government, and hiding behind the assumed ineptitude of politicians I find distasteful.

    They are our leaders, they control the resources that can make the country work. Excusing their failure in any way must be the most unpatriotic act one can commit.

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  47. Andy says:

    I never excused their behaviour… not for a second. I just don’t expect politicians to solve our problems. Because by in large, around the world, politicians don’t do that. Yes they control the resources. yes it’s fucked up. But after years of waiting for them to show the way and do what’s right, we’re still waiting. Eventually you have to do it. Not just sit back and wait for big brother

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  48. down to business says:

    “who died and made your arbitrary…?” and ” I do what I do. How about you?” are pretty much the response you’d expect from a complacent white South African to one of Brandon’s critiques. Ironic, no?

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  49. Afrimoon says:

    That is the saddest part of it all – 17 years in power, with a 70% support base, with a freedom to make unpopular long term decisions (e.g. achieve higher individual income through education, and not entitlement) – and we’re faced with julius and jacob.

    “Eventually you have to do it” – can only be interpreted as eventually you have to take it upon yourself to remove them that causes the most harm – our current leaders.

    Hoping, or even achieving anything else, some philanthropic spirit that moves us all to share what we have with each other, will only entrench our current leadership and strengthen them in their ways.

    SA must be heading for a second revolution – where education wins out over populism, and a democracy emerges that resembles some sort of accountability.

    Any other effort is om te poep teen donderweer – fart against thunder – .

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  50. Boring says:

    @ Andy
    How many black writers and photographers does Mahala use?

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  51. Andy says:

    About 10 out of 25 regular contributors… but that’s entirely incidental. We’re trying to establish a post-racial meritocracy here.

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  52. Andy says:

    In other words if Mahala was entirely created by immigrant Chinese writers, or 45 year old white male South Africans, who could deliver exactly what we’re looking to communicate… we’d publish them.

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  53. Boring says:


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  54. Roger Young says:

    Hey, Andy you left out the coloured photographers and writers, and the one indian fellow, and the Jewish guy who was bought up atheist by his french quatroon father.

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  55. A good article says:

    A writer makes some observations and asks some questions and the response is largely (bar a few) reactionary and aggressively dismissive. No surprises there in the level of political debate from the small minds in all camps.

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  56. Anonymous says:

    Brandon Edmonds does not even live in RSA.

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  57. Anonymous says:

    Brandon and Zoe have to be the kukkest writers (sic) on this site… vomit!

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  58. Dylan Thomas says:


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  59. Dambudzo Marechera says:

    yeah, right. look where it got me.

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  60. William S. Burroughs says:

    at least you weren’t on the junk.

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  61. Gertrude Stein says:

    i would say something but who would understand.

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  62. Frederick Barthelme says:

    My brother would understand you.

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  63. Zoe Wicomb says:

    you can’t get lost in Cape Town.

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  64. Dugmore Boetie says:

    speak for yourself.

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  65. K. Sello Duiker says:

    a T-Rex destroying Cape Town meeting Saartjie Baartman

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  66. K. Sello Duiker says:

    seems abstract.

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  67. Andy says:

    Okay apart from all the semi-funny literary references above… I think the majority of negative comments on this thread are knee-jerk reactionary. Not one person has attempted to explain why the KKNK is so representative of white Afrikaans culture and black Afrikaans culture is largely absent. Let’s look at why that is the case? Is it lack of funding? Is it lack of interest? But it’s a glaring omission… and a huge national festival with major corporate support should do better. Especially considering that Afrikaans, or “Kombuis Nederlands” as it was once known, was invented on the lips of black South Africans. Ooomph!

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  68. arnaud says:


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  69. de klong says:

    Okay Andy, maybe it should be asked whether the so-called-coloured Afrikaans speakers WANT to be associated with the more conservative expression of Afrikaans “culture” that characterises the KKNK? Maybe the one comment above regarding WHETHER any “coloured” artists have actually submitted anything to the KKNK is valid. A lot of people from Zebulon Dread to Breyton Breytonbach have lamented the dearth of original and insightful material at this festival, and maybe this is something also painfully obvious to the “bruin volk” – maybe they’re just a lot more sensitive to kak and retrogressive forms of culture than those of us still bearing apartheid baggage?

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  70. kiff says:

    maybe its the fact that the venue is the old guards garrison -afrikaners need new spaces to mingle?

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  71. JM Coetzee says:

    What a disgrace, some of these comments.

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  72. […] KKNK | Black and Afrikaans | Mahala […]

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  73. Boring says:

    Suid Ooster fees, ohh I suppose Andy has never heard of it… don’t let me get you up from watching top billing dear

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  74. Andy says:

    take a swing why don’t you Boring… We’re talking about the KKNK here. And my whole point rests on this statement, “a huge national festival with major corporate support should do better”

    someone just screaming out for a little bit of internet attention there?

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  75. Siener van Rensburg says:

    Yes I know I am speaking the languange of the vyand. But you commies wouldn’t understand me if I spoke an African language…anyway…I see the truth coming to you like a panga to the head.

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  76. down to business says:

    And we could probably ask the same about the Aardklop festival in Potchefstroom…

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  77. artofkawaii says:

    I understand the line of thinking around whether the absence of non-white afrikaans culture is a product of exclusion or non-participation/lack of interest. It could be both. As a black person I always get caught up in the “we are being excluded” why in 2010 do we still derive pride from theis “the first black person to…” label? We black people placate ourselves that way but sometimes I get angry at myself and my people and think: why must we always be crying to be into white peoples’ things as if we dont have our own? Why must we be howling and crying foul as if we dont have our own ways to express ourselves. We’re the same motherF**s crying about cultural assimmilation yet we are at the door scratching like feral kittens to be let into white culture. So maybe on one level its exclusion and on another its a matter of different ways of expressing that differ from culture to culture. and these issues are multilayered. I have barely scratched the surface as I write Im thinking what Ive written is leading into other contextx that are intertwined or that repel each other …as in… why are there black things and white people’s things in the first place…arent we all just people… then I think but too say that would be to fall into that nefarious liberal trap of race and culture denialism as a way of dealing with racism and prejudice. Sameness is unnatural…. what we need to do, individually and on the whole, is actively manage the NATURAL human impulse to supress that which we do not understand/is foreign… we must shadow-box with ourselves… dont lay idle/think yourself immune and fall prey to lazy habits of thought. admit to yourself that you have prejudices- its human. what you then do by admitting that and by saying it, you open yourself up to be taught otherwise and you allow others the chance to free themselves from your irrassional suspicious gaze by teaching you otherswise.

    the state of race freeness is not a set thing. Our mindstates change everyday and they are influenced by this and that. Nothing is constant. Even managing racism/prejudice within the self and society.is a dailly operation. So to say with confidence “I am NOT racist/prejudiced” is bullshit cos you couldnt possibly know that. There are millions of facets and aspects and layers of ourselves we have no idea about because we have not been challenged or triggered that way. I personally get irked by people who say “Im colourblind…I dont see race, just people” … BITCH, blindness is a disability! ONE! Two, do you insist on being searched in solidarity with the Arabs at airports, or are you happy to reap the benefits of your blond hair and angelic blue eyes then…just as long as you think and speak no ill of Arabs? Race blindness is the inability to appreciate the ways in which society gives you a pass or limits your movements based on race. The same colour blind people are beneficiaries and/or victims of a world and economic system whose fuel is race. The Im race blind and I judge people by their character clique are usually the types that will tell racist jokes and call people niggers… as a friend of mine who is on that same trip did recently….first of all he thought because I had a nasal white accent and seemed well acclimatized to his culture, that he had a confidant in me to espouse prejudiced opinions about my people… you know the types, “youre so different, so much more civilized than the rest” He was shocked that I would call him out, then quickly tried to play me off as reactionary and oversensitive (the regular cheap ploy) then came with the coup de gras “I dont see race, just people” … I told him that to be oblivious to the fact that he is miles ahead of everyone else on earth by mere fact of being a white male is 1) ungrateful 2) it is what allows him to be so race insensitive that he would fail to see the problem with using the word “niggas”, despite knowing what it means. and on the ungrateful tidbit… fuck you if you are on that “I worked hard for what I have. If I can get there you can> I got there by the merits of my and my people’s hard work alone.” …get the fuck outa here! there is no such thing as individuality. the concept is moot. its unnatural. the very nature of life negates the idea of anything existing of its own merit… nothing is unitary. In the case of economy and social standing someone has to bend over and be a step ladder so another can get up top. look around you and examine who was forced to yield so you can get ahead. ingrate.

    Wow, have I rambled. Apologies folks… but I did say that thing about layers and intertwined ideas that are endless

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  78. brandon edmonds says:

    Sure you rambled art but you also klapped a few nails on the head: ‘look around you and examine who was forced to yield so you can get ahead’ – this applies way beyond racial dynamics – ‘blindness is a disability’ indeed – the claim to be above and beyond race is whiteness in a nutshell!

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  79. arnaud says:

    must agree with some of artofkawai comments about people not creating their own, yet crying and moaning if not let in.
    Its Afrikaaner bashing as usual.
    Zoe Henry could have written that “insightful” review, without ever leaving her home, all prejudices lined up beforehand. The writer was not going to any trouble to have herself proven wrong. Thus, no mention of theatre, the art exhibitions, street theatre, local initiatives and differentiated insight into the musical scene…., in fact no review or facts at all. A simple look into the programme would have provided facts, instead of the politically correct and thought lazy ‘Afrikaaner = white = Suppressor’ attitude, that so appeals to cosily entrenched liberals.
    Suidoosterfees, KKNK. Woordfees, Aardklop, Oppikoppie, Voelvry, Jakarandafees Literature….Afrikaansspeakers are doing it for themselves. They have to, more than 4000 Afrikaans medium schools forced to change to Englishmedium (look at the results thereafter), Universities under pressure to do the same. The struggle for Afrikaans goes back a long way and has formed a Southafrican identity that contains many hues, from Weskus to Bosveld, from Waterkloof to Cape Flats, white and black. Its a young, vibrant, easy and expressive language constantly evolving, same as our young nation.
    So now some souties are missing out on a party, no wonder they are sore and feel excluded from all this fun. Afrikaans becomes a constant thorn in their side that makes them spew bile, thats just natural. Time for some English speakers to at least attempt to discard their natural arrogance and confront their own South African identity crisis. The article contained this wonderful line ,poking a little deeper,
    Quote “And one could argue that this apathy (by English)masquerading as liberalism is even more disturbing because it’s insidious and inherently dishonest.”

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  80. arnaud says:

    well arnaud finds this exceptionally well formulated and so thought provoking, he had to read it twice over.
    It has however come to him, in musing and deliberating the issue that “English speakers” should be qualified as “Commonwealth Colonialists” to sort of get the bigger picture: tannie Gordimer in Canada, Oom Coetzee in Australia, only a cynic will see in this DADA picture a white dildo on a black body.

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  81. artofkawaii says:

    wow, Arnaud, you just blew my mind and made me consider angles I never had before. I really like some of the points you make. very insightful. thank you

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  82. artofkawaii says:

    I really think ist a matter of mediums and culturally specific methods of expression here… that people of other cultures might not necessarily get down with. I say this as Ive been, multiple times, to historically Afrikaner festival events like Oppikoppi and had an awesoome time…again and again. and at Oppikoppi the form of expression is one that goes across cultures and caters for many genres and cultures of music. Also festival culture is not so popular in SA yet, slowly growing and black people are becoming more and more hip to festival culture. Not to say there are no other possible variables at play, like I said before… its not completely a matter of exclusion. Ive never been to KKNK so I dont know what the support base is… but not all Africaners are extreme separatists. Many are very moderate, and Id like to think that KKNK is attended by regular Afrikaners who dont necessarily have issues with anybody

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  83. what eva... says:

    As a young person living in Oudtshoorn I just want to comment about the whole KKNK thing. The KKNK festival stands for Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees, which simply state that it is was create as an Afrikaans Festival from the beginning! It has already change alot and there is a lot of productions not just in afrikaans. So if you don’t speak afrikaans or know you’re going to feel offended by something just don’t come! there’s many other festivals in the country that you can go to. Please just let us enjoy something too.

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  84. blksunshine says:

    then it should not be nameb the Klein Karoo Kinste Fees, it is all about the afrikaaner culture and not all the inhabitants of the klein karoo.

    i want to attend this year, but im not goin to spend money so that i can be treated like an outcast by so-called non racists.

    give this festival a new name, because i am from the klein karoo and i c nothing that has any connection to what my people call art. and do take away the Xhosa stand, are u guys fn seriose white people talkin about my heritage.. GET THE FUK OUT!!

    and stop blamming the ancyl for everything, the whites only feeling i get on the kknk web page is mosdef not the cause of that segregation.

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  85. blksunshine says:


    the festival is called Klein Karoo Kunstefees…not Afrikaaners Kunstefees.
    its 100% okay with me if everything is said and done in afrikaans. i do have a problem with it only cattering for white afrikaans speeking people.. by the looks of it, the coloured falk who speek afrikaan in that area are not included in this who cultural event..

    people want to attend, and are willing to accept the festival as it is, but we all know afrikaaners when they become plessierig hey…

    change the name of the festival, call it what it really is because it is def not a Klein Karoo Kunstefees nie..

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