In 1995, after a trip to Lesotho, we were trying to make it back to the Bophuthatswana/Botswana border before it closed for the night, and somewhere on a backroad near Kroonstad we took a wrong turning and ended up 20 miles along a dirt-track going in the wrong direction.
I turned the car around, and was driving too fast along a road which hadn’t been graded for some time when I lost control in the deep ruts of a sharp-cambered corner. For a moment, I thought we were goners. The Toyota Corolla stayed upright, but turned 180 degrees and ended up facing the other direction in the ditch. Fortunately, the only damage was two burst tyres.
So, not being the most practical of people, I stood scratching my head and wondering what to do, when a bakkie came along, the first car we’d seen for half an hour. The driver jumped out and greeted us in Afrikaans. His name was Pete, or more likely, now I think about it, Piet, and he was a thick-set, heavily-bearded farmer. Tough and strong as nails.
He immediately took charge of the situation, and as I was still describing what had happened he got my spare tyre out and changed it for one of the burst tyres, which he bounced into the back of his bakkie whilst I stood around feeling spare and unmanly, and we headed off for the nearest garage.
Piet spoke very little English, so conversation was quite limited. It was 20 kilometres to the nearest town, and a garage that repaired the tyre, then he drove me back to the Toyota where he took the other burst tyre off and replaced it with the repaired one.
It was an extremely kind act of a good Good Samaritan. I offered him the biggest banknote I had, but he refused, and only went on his own way once I’d started up the Toyota and he saw that we were OK.
So, without wanting to generalise too much, I can say that Piet was a perfect example of many helpful Afrikaners we have come across over the years.
On another trip, this time to Thabazimba, we pitched our tent at a campsite near the entrance to Marakele National Park. We were tired and looking forward to a good night’s sleep and an early game drive the next morning when a group of about thirty Afrikaners drove up in several bakkies, formed a kraal not far from our tent, and got their braai going. Then the music started and they began a singalong. They had at least one accordion and several guitars, and as the beer flowed they played louder and louder. It was well past 1am when the noise died down.
Now, I’m not one to complain about parties, but what upset me was not the noise but the fact that their music and singing was dreadfully awful. And the songs were bad as well, based mostly on oom-pah – oom-pah, but rendered without the necessary vital understanding or mastering of a basic two-beat rhythm. I don’t think that any one of the thirty of them had even the slightest musical talent. This didn’t stop them from having a whale of a time, though.
As an aside, I would say that I got my own back early the next morning when I took my son Jamie, who was three, for a walk. He shot straight into the now peaceful and sleeping kraal and proceeded to undo guy-ropes, turn taps on, pull up pegs, tip up bags and so on. Normally, of course, I would have stopped him, but in this case I just left him to his usual whirlwind activity.
Again, without wanting to generalise too much, my experience in Thabuzimba and elsewhere has mostly been that Afrikaners have not impressed me as being a particularly musically-orientated people.
So, what I’m saying is from these and other experiences, I’ve found Afrikaners to be helpful, strong, practical, hard working, hard partying people, with almost no musical appreciation whatsoever.
Thus it is that I cannot explain how I’ve found such a rich vein of what I consider fantastic, fun, foot-stompin’ Afrikaner pop music on YouTube. Also, the self parody in the videos shows a much better sense of humour than anyone would expect from the traditional clichéd views of Afrikaners that we get from the media in the UK.
Of course, this music sounds far better played very loud (at least warp 23 on the headphones) after some beers (Castles, if you want to do it right), which I advise you to have before clicking on the links below, and then one more beer for each video. The important thing is that in most cases, due to the videos, you don’t have to understand Afrikaans to enjoy the songs. I don’t know any Afrikaans, so I hope the words are not too rude.
First off is Rooies. Listen to the excellent mixture of English and Afrikaans words.
Just to show that Rooies is not a one-hit-wonder, above is: Hou jou hanne van my lyf af
Robbie Wessels – Macarena Mambo
It’s Robbie again, but look away if you’re offended by budgie smugglers.
Bok Van Blerk.
Oeps Didi – DJ Ossewa
Anton Myburgh – Visgat. Boerewors is a type of sausage, essential eating in South Africa.
This one, by Andriette, is set in a library!
OK. They are getting more oom-pah – oom-pah, this one doesn’t get going until 1:18 and it may not be safe for work.
Bruce & Die Flooze. Watch this one to the end.
Kurt Darren – Lekker Lekker
If you’re under 25, there’s also someone called Snotkop, who looks as if he’s not the sort of chap you’d take home to meet your Mum & Dad.
From the above, you can see and hear that South Africa could win every Eurovision Song Contest by a mile.
To finish off, here’s one with a beautiful slide-show (which of course manages to feature boerewors) entitled: Kom Huis toe… for homesick South-Africans.
Tip – For a unique experience, why not play two of the above, at the same time, through the heads.