Decapitate a Haterby Petra Mason / 06.02.2010
In the 4th world, the web, the mysterious domain of the viral misdaad, South African rave rock rappers Ninja, Yo-Landi, Leon Botha + DJ Hi-Tek of Die Antwoord are not just hot sluts of the week, they have made South African pop culture history. Last week news of the zef krew spread like a rash worldwide and swiftly took root in the zeros and ones. By Tuesday watching the virus spread became spectator sport. With a Facebook fan base that grew by over 1000 new recruits a day, most of whom had never heard of Afrikaans, let alone “gam taal”, from Los Angeles to the Ukraine mense got doos dronk, dik gerook, and kapped om, taken by “die spirit” of Die Antwoord. It’s absurdly, wonderfully weird. The blogosphere is drooling over Die Antwoord and geeks all over are going gangsta. Much respek is due to the half-illustrated man known as Ninja who put this circus together and got the show on the road.
The answer to Die Antwoord is given to us at the beginning of the slick interweb promo piece when Ninja raps that: “South African culture is all these things, all these people, fucked into one person”.
For most part South Africans are backstabbing haters. And it seems to get rougher and kakker and more trailer park by the week. Like a bunch of starving brakhonde fighting over the last bone at the braai, audiences down South are vicious. (Just check the comments below all the Mahala articles on Die Antwoord for a little taste of that poison – Die Fokken Antwoord Is, Max Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 15 Minutes with a Ninja – Ed). They behave as if there is a cap on how much you’re allowed to like. It does not cost you to support each other, so stop being such cheap bastards. Why take sides? So what if Brasse Vannie Kaap said zef first. Who owns words? When did tjappies become sacred?
Is it a crime that Ninja has a history as a performer? Does it matter that tjip rolls might not be on the menu everyday and that someone saw one of them eating an Italian tomato at the Gardens Center? This is the kind of micro kak that locals poison each other and their efforts with. For now let’s all laugh, and bask in their new found media success as our “yes we can” moment for South African performers. Because, until deals are made and money is paid, until the album $0$ is on iTunes to purchase and units are sold, not just stolen, for now, pop culture history is the only currency that’s been traded.
All images © Andy Davis / Mahala