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In a beautiful written piece for the New York Times, Trevor Noah paints a picture of his childhood with his mother

The New South Africa?

2007-02-14 17:05
"Fokkol", the somewhat pessimistic but patriotic protest song Koos wrote to warn of what might happen if we don't sort out crime, power, housing and other basics before 2010, was one of's most downloaded songs in 2006, and found its way all over the world via the extensive network of SA expats.

Some would say "Fokkol"'s negative, warning themes are what made it popular with former SA suburbans in exile. Homesick and defensive, some expats take a very negative view of post-Apartheid South Africa and often give it pretty bad press in their adopted homelands overseas.

From the viewpoint of someone who actually lives in South Africa and loves it here, the crudely constructed video - posted on YouTube by "sweetlove3ten" (clearly not her real name) on June 22, 2006 - is insulting, negative, and a little distressing. The visuals make a song that was a warning of what MIGHT happen into a song saying it already has happened. In fact, the video is titled "The New South Africa". Watch the Fokkol video here

You'll see that many of the images (most in fact) are not actually of South Africa at all. The person who made the video has collected (actually, stolen) pictures of neglect and disaster from all over the world, and stuck them together in a crude sequence with translations of Koos's words to imply that they're pictures taken in South Africa. A very negative impression is created. The problem is, will most people see through it? Many people are all to willing to spend all their time whining and believing the worst of us, as it is.

Codaza says "So his problem is really with Eskom, why take out his frustration on the entire country? That's a little narrow-minded don't you think" and the less upbeat Fatporra fights back with "Do you pay taxes? Is it fine if thattaxes is wasted on shit or even stolen. Do you think that is fine?"

Interestingly, the discussion on YouTube is quite critical of the video-maker. Others spew the usual hysterical stuff. Where do you stand? Let us know how you feel about it using the message posting facility below. Obviously, as the person who not only recorded "Fokkol" but sang the shockingly bad backing vocals, I can't help feeling partially responsible.

- Jean Barker

PS: We have more stuff from Koos - including a brand new protest song, English and Afrikaans interviews, and a brand new music video. Because crime affects everyone nowdays. Click here for that.
Does a YouTube "Fokkol" video tarnish Koos Kombuis's reputation and that of South Africa?
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