By Ulandi du Plessis
The De la Rey generation has emerged with growing Afrikaner national pride. Early last year, Louis Pepler, aka Bok van Blerk, co-wrote a song called “De la Rey” about a general being called to lead the boers to freedom. His debut album by the same name, released in October last year, has made platinum status.
The young Afrikaner generation of South Africa is getting tired of being blamed for an era they were not part of. Other musicians have also started focusing on the taboo topic of Afrikaner nationalism. The band Klopjag sings “Ek sal nie langer jammer sê nie.” (“I am not saying sorry anymore.”) in support of a renewed Afrikaner awakening. The popularity of the song has the government and several resigned Afrikaners worried.
Arts Minister Pallo Jordan said “Sadly, the popular song is in danger of being hijacked by a minority of right-wingers.”
Although I’ve been to the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) before, I somehow thought this year would be different. Many expected large crowds running around with orange, white and blue shirts singing “Die Stem”.
There were a few politically incorrect tshirts, but pimply-faced teenagers who wouldn’t know the difference between PW and FW wore them. Bok van Blerk performed with a new South African flag on his shirt. Maryke Jansen van Rensburg, an Afrikaans student, said the idea of an Afrikaner led revolution “is just wrong”.According to a recent Mail & Guardian article the real De la Rey, contrary to popular belief, was not an Afrikaner nationalist. The general was a peacemaker, accused of cowardice when he did not want to go to war against the British. If the Boeremag wanted a leader for a racist uprising against the black government, Koos De la Rey seems an unlikely candidate.
The De la Rey generation is more bark than bite. New Afrikaner enthusiasm has little do with racism, but is a way for a generation to claim a platform for their grievances.