Mhambi has been redeployed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bo alles - District six, Koeka's sad video with Boereplaas score

Mhambi mentioned the other day why PW Botha almost destroyed Afrikaans because of what he did to Distric Six.

But what did he destroy? Watch this video Bo alles, by artist Koeka Stander and weep for District Six.

Filming of the original 16mm was commissioned by the BBC in the 70s. The footage was confiscated by apartheid police at the time and discovered 20 years later by Stephen Bourne, a 16 mm enthusiast. He asked Koeka to convert the film to DV. Moved by the children's faces, she created this short video.

Koeka decided to use Mimi Coertse's O, Boereplaas as emotive accompanyment to the film. For her, Afrikaans Opera star Mimi, represented the period when District six was destroyed. She spoke to coloured South Africans and they - perhaps surprisingly - identified with the song. Not with the yearning for the mythical farm expressed in it, but with the love for the Afrikaans language.

The song enthuses about a deep attachment to the Boereplaas (Boer farm), as geboorte grond (birth place, but also about the moedertaal (mother language), a reference to Afrikaans. Ek het jou lief bo alles. (I love you above all).

"They are Afrikaners too" Stander said to Die Burger. That Afrikaner nationalism destroyed an Afrikaans community in the heart of Cape Town, makes the use of the song sad and ironic.

On 11 February 1966, the apartheid-era government declared District Six a whites-only area under the Group Areas Act, with removals starting in 1968, directed by P W Botha. By 1982, more than 60 000 people had been relocated to the comparatively bleak Cape Flats some 25 kilometers away, and the old houses bulldozed. The only buildings left standing were places of worship. International and local pressure made redevelopment difficult for the government, however. The Cape Technikon (now part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology) was built on part of the former District Six and the area was renamed Zonnebloem, but apart from this the area was left as a wasteland until relatively recently. Big shout out to Bonnie who sent me this link.

Original Director
Cas van Rensberg

Koeka Stander

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