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Avontoer Day 4: Hip-hip-Hermanus

2011-01-14 11:11

30 December 2010

Best we move on to Hermanus, where things are more civilised, and drier. There's electricity here, too, at least at the venue. What we don't know is that we are going to come back to our renta-room on the marsh with no lights at all, which is possibly a blessing, because then the girls can't see the spiders, or a curse, because then the boys can't see the girls in their underwear. Shame. At least they can still see stars.

The venue is already pumping when the second bus arrives, a suburban saal with no personality to speak of. Luckily that has been imported- friends are here from afar again, and somehow, the closer we get to Cape Town, the earlier people arrive at the show.

Weird, because Capetonians usually ascribe to the rule of cooler equals later, but then, we are on holiday with little to do, and we are more than a little out of context. So maybe 'cool' can take a break, too.

A few days into camping with mosquitoes and boxes, musicians and boxers, we now know how to sniff out a bar in two breaths. That could be one of two kinds of bar.

The more dangerous kind is, this time, placed just outside the showroom, and it shows. Our photographer, Adriaan Louw, comes to me fairly early in the evening and mentions that people are already totally wasted.

This is a fair bit before he himself prances around in his undies after rubbing his clothes landing in someone's abandoned vomit.
Indeed, it gets messy, but before then, may I introduce you to the master of the moustache?  Enter Jack Parow, the man who will make your daughters say woes with a P.

Tricky rapper

Actually he's a sweet guy, and for the record (because I'm tired of the buzz), he is not faking it. Yes, he is an entertainer. Yes, it is a show. Yes, he does use backtracks (he admits, though I thought he was being ironic).

But Zander is zuckly what and who he sings on stage and says he is off it – an ordinary guy sick to death of the sucky stuff, a tricky rapper with no qualms about using rude words to make the world wake up and pay attention, give him attention and give him money. Lots of it.

Bless the boy – his rhymes may be rude, but they're clever. And if he's telling the tale of one man in the northern suburbs of the Western Cape of South Africa, he's also telling the story of many a young person strewn across the country in varying stages of isolation and self identification.

If the virility and violence of the crowd is to be trusted beyond forty percent volume, that is -  they know ALL the words,  they scream them and dream them and chant them religiously. Under Zander's level gaze and looping lines, they become one. Seething. Mass. Of madness.

He gives them an outlet – these frustrated kids with paradoxes for parents, a country of contradictions and fragmentations for inheritance, and no hope of knowing themselves until they spit out the spite.

He gives them what Fokofpolisiekar and Foto Na Dans never can – the right to riot (in the right way). In the simplicity of his words and crunchy beats is the secret : a singular message, a single energy. It moves beyond the emotion, contemplation and catharsis of his contemporaries, into an ocean of honesty that doesn't require intellectual acrobatics.

Previously: Dit maak nie 'sakie' in Mossel Bay
Enter Jack Parow, the man who will make your daughters say woes with a P.
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