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De La Rey

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bluegray
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« on: March 05, 2007, 09:34:27 AM »

Afrikaans singer stirs up controversy with war song : Guardian Unlimited

Quote
The question goes out, and the response is always the same.

"I'm proud of my language and culture. Are you?" Bok van Blerk demands of the emotionally charged crowd.

Up goes the cheer, and then comes the song - an Afrikaans folk number about a Boer war general that has become a sensation in South Africa as an anthem for young whites who say they are tired of being made to feel guilty about the apartheid past.

The song, De La Rey, has swept into rugby matches and pubs where Afrikaners belt out its plea for the old Boer general to come back and lead. Many stand with a hand over their heart as they sing the lyrics about a "nation that will rise up again" as if it were a national anthem.

But while the song is a best seller among South Africa's 2.5 million Afrikaners, it is also generating a heated debate about what its success means.

Some see its popularity as the beginnings of a reassertion of Afrikaner identity from the ashes of apartheid. Others view it as an attempt to rebrand Afrikaners from oppressors to victims by casting back to their suffering at the hands of the British as an analogy for the perceived injustices of life under black rule. South Africa's arts minister, Pallo Jordan, has even warned that the song risks being hijacked by extreme rightwingers as a "call to arms". One rugby ground tried to ban it but backed down in the face of public outrage.

Bok van Blerk characterises De La Rey as a stand against historic guilt.

"Young Afrikaners are tired of having the apartheid guilt trip shoved down their throats. This song makes them proud of their heritage," he said.

The song is about an Afrikaner Boer war general, Koos de la Rey, who opposed war with the British because he did not believe the Afrikaner republics could win. But once war began de la Rey threw himself into the fight, playing a heroic role in the British defeat at Magersfontein.

Along with lyrics about the "Khakis" razing Boer homesteads, and women and children perishing in concentration camps, it is the chorus that strikes home.

"General De la Rey

De la Rey, De la Rey

Will you come for the Boers?

We are ready"

The song has been portrayed in the Afrikaans press as a rallying cry for leadership which evaporated with the end of apartheid in 1994. The Afrikaner writer, Rian Malan, said the emotional impact of De La Rey caught everyone by surprise but reflects a deep-seated feeling among many whites that they do not belong in South Africa any more. Hundreds of thousands have decamped to London, Sydney and other foreign cities.

"Afrikaners were so vilified in the latter years of apartheid and they were so relieved at it ending that they just kept their heads down and put up with any shit for the first 10 years of the democratic experiment," he said.

"Afrikaners don't know where they fit in. The ANC and the comfortable class of Afrikaners have been very good at managing the Afrikaner problem. They lulled the rightwing with talk of a "volkstat" (homeland) some day. It's been very skilfully managed. The Afrikaans press carries some of the blame because they ignored the painful issues, they bought into the rainbow nation myth, they didn't rock the ideological boat."

But resentment has grown over affirmative action programmes in favour of non-whites which some Afrikaners see as a new form of apartheid.

There is also bitterness at the marginalisation of Afrikaans as a language by the state even though it is the most widely spoken in South Africa, and a perception that the government is attempting to eradicate Afrikaner culture by changing the names of roads, airports and cities, particularly Pretoria.

But another prominent Afrikaner writer, Max du Preez, is more suspicious. He sees the song as an attempt to latch on to a time when Afrikaners were not only victims but heralded in many parts of the world as anti-colonialists standing up to the British empire.

"There's an element here of a search for identity, a search for pride," he said. "They had to go back 100 years to find a hero to praise because there was nothing in between. After the Anglo-Boer war there is nobody in Afrikaner history that you can glorify except maybe rugby players."

Du Preez sees the song as cover for resentment at the post-apartheid order.

"When they sing about how nasty the British were to the Boer women in the concentration camps and "general come and lead us because we will fall around you", they're not thinking about the British, they're thinking about blacks. Their enemy is now black."

"Afrikaners don't have a cause anymore. They have become their own cause over stuff like affirmative action and crime."

Others say it is unfair to accuse Afrikaners of a rightwing backlash whenever they express their cultural identity.

But at concerts the song is often accompanied by demonstrations of loyalty to the old order. Some people wave the former South African flag, others follow up "De La Rey" with a rendition of "Die Stem", the apartheid-era national anthem
.

Bok van Blerk says he is embarrassed by such displays but earlier this month he performed before an audience in Afrikaner-only "Orania", a village that its residents hope will form the nucleus of a white homeland. The singer also had a meeting with one of 22 men on trial as members of the far right Boeremag (Farmers force), who are accused of treason and murder for a series of bombings aimed at destabilising the government. Still, it is telling that while the Boeremag members on trial may win sympathy from some Afrikaners for their grievances there is minimal support for their methods or aims.

As Max de Preez says, this is because the vast majority of whites, Afrikaners included, have continued to prosper under black rule. "The kids standing in the pubs in Pretoria with their hand on their heart, and their wild eyes, go outside and they get into their BMW convertibles. They're not suffering. It's an imagined suffering," he said.
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2007, 12:37:54 PM »

mynhardt van pletsen » Koos Kombuis oor Bok van Blerk
orig. here: LitNet | Koos Kombuis: Bok van Blerk en die bagasie van veertig jaar
Quote
Koos de la Rey was ‘n teenstander van Hertzog. Hy was nie ‘n Afrikaner-Nasionalis nie. Hy was ‘n ware Suid-Afrikaanse leier, met ‘n groter visie as die eng, etniese en rassistiese ideologieë van ander Afrikaner-leiers.
...
En dis van hierdie ou wat Bok van Blerk sing wanneer julle hom hoor wanneer julle braai-partytjies hou van Malmesbury tot Mpumalanga . Hy sing nie van Eugène Terre’Blanche nie. Hy sing nie van Marthinus van Schalkwyk nie. Hy sing nie eers van Adriaan Vlok of Jake White of Hannes Nel of Trompie nie. Hy sing van ‘n man van durf en daad, ‘n man van aksie, ‘n man met gewete, ‘n ware leier wat, indien hy vandag gelewe het, nie net ons volk nie, maar die ganse Suid-Afrikaanse nasiedom sou help vorder het tot by daardie wonderlike land wat die Nuwe Suid-Afrika nog altyd veronderstel was om te wees.
Dit is waaroor hierdie veelbesproke lied gaan.

En dit, vermoed ek, is waarom daar so ‘n diep hartseer agter Bok van Blerk se oë lê.

Want, jonk soos wat hy is, dra hy, net soos ek, net soos alle denkende Afrikaanse mense, net soos die ganse Suid-Afrika, baie swaar aan die pyn en die bagasie van die afgelope veertig jaar.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 12:23:59 PM by bluegray V » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 14:31:35 PM »

My opinion; this song is getting way to much attention from the media.

I know I'm over simplifying the matter, but, the same people, under the same influence of the same copious amounts of brandy & coke did the "macarena" with the same level of enthusiasm.  If history repeats, as it often does, this will all be long forgotten by next year.

No doubt there will be the regular "beggars and hangers-on" who try to capitalize on the situation with other songs going on the same trend, with various levels of success. Until it all vanishes into obscurity.

Many of my suspicions were confirmed when in an interview with the creators of this, they said that the reason for using De La Rey was merely because it has three syllables, it goes well with ge-ne-raal.

..and I had the misfortune of listening to the rest of the CD, nauseating.
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2007, 17:14:49 PM »

My opinion; this song is getting way to much attention from the media.
That may be true. But the reason it's getting the attention is because of the "controversy". The right wing connection has been highlighted and exploited. Unfairly in my opinion. In truth the song's got nothing to do with right wingers, other than that they are mostly boers and dress in khaki. I am neither. But it strikes me that this stereotyping is not any different from any other. And just as wrong.
I know I'm over simplifying the matter, but, the same people, under the same influence of the same copious amounts of brandy & coke did the "macarena" with the same level of enthusiasm.  If history repeats, as it often does, this will all be long forgotten by next year.
I'm sure there is an element of the macarena phenomnon, but there are many other much more interesting reasons why it is so popular.
No doubt there will be the regular "beggars and hangers-on" who try to capitalize on the situation with other songs going on the same trend, with various levels of success. Until it all vanishes into obscurity.
Agreed.
Many of my suspicions were confirmed when in an interview with the creators of this, they said that the reason for using De La Rey was merely because it has three syllables, it goes well with ge-ne-raal.
This is part of what is interesting to me. The creators have little to do with the popularity of the song. It is mostly created by the fans themselves together with the media attention. And it would therefore be difficult to duplicate the success of this song. This could all of course have been planned by the band Wink
..and I had the misfortune of listening to the rest of the CD, nauseating.
I won't use strong words like that to decribe it. It certainly is not one of the best albums, but it certainly is not the worst. I won't go so far as to dismiss Bok as an artist too quickly, depends on what he does next. Sure it's mostly girls and booze he sings about, but since when is that different from any other rock musician?
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2007, 08:44:47 AM »

...a not so friendly review of the CD
http://www.24.com/entertainment/music/?p=review&i=465149
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2007, 11:33:42 AM »



*laugh* a very biased review, but still a good laugh. It's also worth while to scroll through some of the comments.  Grin
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