Tuesday, February 27, 2007

'De la Rey, De la Rey' featured in Big Apple and UK

South African newspapers and blogs have been buzzing lately ad nauseum on the topic of Afrikaner identity and -nationalism (God forbid). All of this because of the incredible success of an Afrikaans rock ballad recalling the Anglo-Boer War and one General De la Rey. Personally I feel the song simply features a cool tune and catchy lyrics. All the other hocus pocus that came to the fore is in fact unrelated to the song. The latter is simply a convenient hook on which to 'hang' the more important issue.

I'll spend some time on addressing my imperfect views on Afrikaner identity soon.

For now I'm intrigued by the coverage the song has spawned. Initially within South Africa and now even globally. I picked up on a friend's blog (Mhambi) this morning that the Guardian (UK paper) covered the strange De la Rey phenomenon. On taking a peek at one of my favourite online sources, the New York Times, I was surprised to see De la Rey jumping off the 'front' page at me (online version). What the hell is going on!? Anyways, both papers deal very responsibly with the topic. Thankfully. I'm glad that global journalists, thus far, aren't predicting an up-rise by Afrikaners - a ridiculous notion.

I do believe an ongoing discussion on the identity and role of Afrikaans / Afrikaners is important. Especially in the context of the position of minorities within diverse societies. However, I think an ongoing debate on the role of the De la Rey song is ludicrous. It's a debate that ends up going in circles. I hope people will move on to a more meaningful discussion of the underlying issues.

If you somehow missed out on the De la Rey mania, I gladly include a Carte Blanche piece (source: YouTube) on the song and the hysteria around it. Amongst others, it features an old friend from my university days - Andries Bezuidenhout, better known as Roof Bezuidenhout. I very rarely get to see Andries these days, but I'm always interested to hear his views. He has played a big role in my own intellectual and political development as student. As can be expected a TV piece will always cut and edit interviews - thus resulting in excerpts which does not reflect the full complexity of arguments / views expressed in the original interview. I tried to include the actual music video as well but it would not show - I'll try and fix it when I have time...

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