Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Antjie Krog sees absolution in De la Rey

Afrikaner poet, writer and intelectual Antjie Krog sees absolution in the De la Rey song phenomena.

Max du Preez and Antjie Krog
Originally uploaded by BOOKphotoSA.
Antjie Krog and Max du Prez don't agree on the meaning of the De la Rey song.

De la Rey: Afrikaner absolution

"The view of most commentators is that the De la Rey song is a call to mobilise Afrikaners against black people in general and the government in particular. High-powered editors, columnists, radio and television hosts read the lyrics as “right-wing exclusivity” and a “whining for lost power”. A government minister yawned and warned. A foreign correspondent’s right-wing interpretation was rewarded with an international front-page story.

Were the squeals of suppressed excitement at words like “uprising”, “rebellion” and “warning” just my imagination? As if to say: Wow, the Afrikaners are at it again! As if Afrikaners really matter that much. As if Afrikaners could rise up and effectively bring back the past.

Is it that some South Africans miss the “good” bad old days of the struggle, when the Afrikaners helped everybody else to determine what was right and what was wrong? Do some South Africans need the notion of “bad racist Afrikaners on the rise” to bring to the fore the best in themselves in a country where right and wrong has become more ambiguous? Is there a need for “us” to be bad, so that “they” can be good?"

... Reconciling the past with the present

"How can the apartheid past, with its Afrikaans coinage of injustice, ever be reconciled with the present? The song’s popularity says to me that, in general, Afrikaners want to become part of building a free country, but feel sidelined because of their past. They are trying to build a meaningful relationship with the rest of the country, but battle to deal with unexpressed guilt.

This is compunded by many white people who would like the Afrikaner to stay the “guilty” party.

To “obtain liberation” from a past, children often try to develop the identity they long for by relying on surrogate mothers and fathers. As mediator, De la Rey brings a third option about. He becomes the surrogate father, not to lead to uprising, but to assist children to deal with their guilt in such a way that they can successfully integrate their past into a new society."

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