Tuesday, March 06, 2007

'From Voëlvry to De La Rey: Popular music, Afrikaner Nationalism and lost irony'

The De la Rey 'saga' (for background go here) has now reached the point where intellectuals are writing academic papers on it... Oh my! What's next?

I've expressed my irritation with the surprising momentum this whole circus is enjoying on this blog in the recent past. Yet, here I am mentioning it again. Guilty by association.

A 'draft' paper by Andries (Roof) Bezuidenhout has been published on LitNet - an Afrikaans socio-literary web space. "From Voëlvry to De La Rey: Popular music, Afrikaner Nationalism and lost irony" has apparently been presented at a seminar at the University of Pretoria's Sociology Department (Roof's alma mater). It does make for very interesting reading. For one thing I enjoy the fact that it puts the song (De la Rey) in perspective, within the context of a much larger body of work going back about two decades.

For those who followed or partook in the phenomenon that was the Voëlvry Toer and who experienced the 'alternative' Afrikaans rock scene in the early nineties, the paper will make for a nostalgic walk down memory lane. It is not intended to be nostalgic, everything but. However, it brought back good memories and a new appreciation for the substance of the movement. Bezuidenhout does dish out a fair amount of criticism regarding that particular era as well.

The more academic approach to the De la Rey saga, and placing it in a bigger context - thus removing the over emphasis placed on the song in recent times -, is a very welcome fresh breeze. I hope this is a first step towards a more considered thoughtful discussion around the underlying issues and a shift away from De la Rey...

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