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Koos Kombuis

André Rieu, jy’s ‘n droë drol!

2011-03-22 11:55
I only read the story halfway, so I realize there’s a real danger of quoting someone out of context, like the time Bono was quoted out of context with his Malema comments, but, hey, that’s exactly my point here: why is this hoegenaamd an issue at all? In the Bono case, the media turned a molehill into a mountain. This way, it seems the other way round.

Far it be it from me to force people to speak my language at all costs. I love Afrikaans, but I realize there are more important questions in the world right now, such as why Gaddafi won’t surrender Libya or why Justin Bieber’s mother keeps forgetting to check her son’s fly before he goes on stage.

And of course I’m not the type of bloke who you will EVER see wearing one of those rude “Praat Afrikaans Of Hou Jou Bek” T-shirts. When shopkeepers address me in English, I usually reply in English. I try to be polite to foreigners, even in my own country.

I don’t even get upset if I don’t see Afrikaans instructions on a packet of condoms, either. After all, most people know how to use condoms by now, and anyway, we have eleven official languages, and if they had to print instructions in all those languages on everything sold in the free market, a packet of condoms would have to be at least as big as a box of banana-flavoured ProNutro, and then of course it won’t fit into a vending machine.

True colours

I must admit, though, that I was a bit mystified that time when Charlize Theron received an Oscar and she sort of forgot to speak the mother tongue. I mean, om hemelsnaam, there we had a homegrown Boxburg person (amper sê ek ‘chick’) on worldwide TV for the first time ever, and she blew the chance to show her true colours! Why? This girl grew up among ice-rinks, mine-dumps, fast food joints and people who spin their tyres on Sunday afternoons, and she wouldn’t even utter a simple phrase like “Piele op die wiele!”? What kind? Would it have degraded her in any way even to just say “Hallo, Mamma, hoe gaan dit op die dorp?” Ag nee toggie. 

I mean, hell man, even Die Antwoord, who only know three words in Afrikaans, aren’t afraid to use those three words. It goes with their tattoos. It helps them look real and rough and neo-tribalistic in a sort of deliberately dumb way. Best of all, it hides their Rondebosch private school roots, which is very important. By the way, does anyone know whether the Malema toilet paper used by Mrs. Ninja was single- or double-ply? I didn’t watch the video, but I’m curious. It would be interesting to know to what lengths they were prepared to go in terms of post-colonial authenticity, know what I mean?


Anyway, here’s a promise: if jôrs troelie ever make it big in the international arena – whether as a musician (highly unlikely), writer (marginally likely) or funny old guy out of Africa with bandana (you never know), I will certainly speak Afrikaans at every opportunity possible. Even if I’m interviewed by Oprah! In fact, the first thing I intend to say to Oprah, when she beckons me to take a seat across from her in her plush talk show studio, is: “Ek hoop darem iemand het hierdie bank afgestof nadat Tom Cruise met sy vuil pote daarop getrap het, ne!”

Vir wat moet mens jou roots verloor die oomblik as jy by ‘n ander kultuur gaan kuier?

Sies vir jou, André Rieu, jou ou droë drol.


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