Die Antwoord voted best on internet

2011-03-28 08:51
Johannesburg - A tattooed rapper spits Afrikaans swear words into a giant penis-shaped microphone as a tiny peroxide blonde jumps furiously up and down on the stage.

This is Die Antwoord, a South African rap-rave group whose white trash act is gaining notice and notoriety around the world.

Yo-Landi Vi$$er, the peroxide blonde - a nymphet whose voice seems compressed by helium - wears the group's credo on a sign attached to her rear: "Fok jou", or "fuck you" in English-tinged Afrikaans, the language descended from South Africa's Dutch settlers.

This nihilistically X-rated attitude has brought Die Antwoord (the answer) far from the lower-class suburbs where they shoot their videos, unexpectedly sophisticated works that have won the group critical acclaim.

Formed in 2008, the group had a worldwide breakthrough in 2009 when its video Zef Side went viral, reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers in several days.

Zef-rap-rave music

The clip was chosen by the Guggenheim Foundation, the high temple of contemporary art, as one of the 25 best internet videos of the past two years.

"It was actually the best of the 25," says a defiant Ninja (born Watkin Tudor Jones), the leader of the group, which later signed with American label Interscope - home of Eminem, Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas.

Die Antwoord has released just one album, $O$, a genre-bending work that Yo-Landi describes as "Zef-rap-rave music".

Zef, a uniquely South African counter-culture, takes the discarded pop symbols of yesteryear and revives them in defiantly proud low-class style.

"My hairstyle is fokken Zef," explains Ninja, signalling his mullet, which features an extended rat-tail and shaved sides.

Then he adds: "Zef, as soon as you explain it, you make a fokken mistake. It's a style, South African style, an ultimate style."

'I absorb life'

Beneath the permanent state of provocation - during the interview, he suggests sniffing his armpits because "they smell like South Africa" - Watkin Tudor Jones hides a respected artist.

At 36, he is a well-known figure on the local hip-hop scene who has taken on various identities for groups such as The Original Evergreen and The Constructus Corporation.

He isn't even a real Afrikaner - he grew up in an English-speaking family.

"Ninja is like a superhero," he says of his current persona.

"It's like more ultimate than a normal person. Is Superman a character or Clark Kent? Is Superman more real than Clark Kent?

"It's like I absorb life, I absorb South Africa, and all different things around me... and then I release it."

Much of what Ninja has absorbed comes from the gangster culture of South Africa's "Cape coloureds" - mixed-race residents of the Western Cape province.

South Africanness

He has also teamed up with a black rapper, Wanga, to produce Evil Boy, a single that speaks out against the practice of ritual circumcision among the Xhosa ethnic group.

Music critic Roger Young says Ninja is the perfect expression of the "meshed and very violent culture" of South Africa, where the scars of white-minority rule are still visible 17 years after the end of apartheid.

"There is a rage: we inherited this fucked-up place, we have to be angry about the past, but at the same time, we also have to accept it," says Young.

Die Antwoord concerts, he says, are "a great place to go and offload your South Africanness".

The group is due to release a new album, Tension, in September. But once the shock effect has passed, will Die Antwoord survive?

"We're just doing our thing, and when we get bored of it, we will fokken do something else," says Ninja.

"The fokken future is here," answers Yo-Landi. "Right now, right here. In your face!"


  • JCTF - 2011-03-28 09:44

    Like the shacks in Kayelitsha, Die Antwoord is one of those things you really hope your overseas visitors don't notice.

      Chris Malcolm - 2011-03-28 10:45

      Well they have haven't they, including the Guggenheim. I suppose its understandable for people who prefer to think they live in a bubble, trying not to notice the dire life most people live in this country to also prefer their safe and shallow styles of art and music...

      A THEIST - 2011-03-28 13:39

      @jctf and Co ! Jou Maaaaaaaaaa se FISHPASTE ! They are original ! DIE ANTWOORD IS HERE TO STAY ! Ban steve darren niklaus and all the rest of that KRAP !

      Richie - 2011-03-28 15:39

      Shame you feel guilty about the shacks?

      LBS - 2011-03-29 15:43

      A Theist, your name says it all. I think you and this kind is disgusting.

      Robotr - 2011-03-29 18:04

      LBS, would you rather go to a doctor who trained 2000 years ago or a modern day one? Just because someone doesn't believe in tales from a +2000 year old book and would rather rely on modern day common sense, or simply just has music taste different to yours doesn't make them any greater or lesser than you. Maybe you should try looking into yourself for some moral guidance rather than spitting out your virtuous opinion.

  • william.botha - 2011-03-28 09:56

    Yep he absorbs alright, he absorbs all the sewerage leaking from the suburbs, what a bunch of fuckups.

      Johannvw13 - 2011-03-28 10:19

      agreed, they are white trash !

  • Bob - 2011-03-28 10:02

    White trash, 'nuff said

      A THEIST - 2011-03-28 13:40

      NOB BOB !

  • Christo - 2011-03-28 10:06

    Some people just don't get it.. so sad.. Die Antwoord rules..

  • stabes - 2011-03-28 10:07

    These talentless idiots are an even bigger embarrassment to South African than Julius Malema and his YL cronies. Please... just shut up and get back to Meyerton (or whatever hole you crawled out of.)

      Christo - 2011-03-28 10:11

      Typical clueless reply..

      A THEIST - 2011-03-28 13:44

      @stabes ! Cape Town is there Hub ! and making a success, making $$$ !

      Point Blank - 2011-03-28 16:14

      Ignorant stabes, they actually huge. I had mates in the US who went to see them live and said they blew most of the big name rappers right out the water! They massive over in the US bro... but you too stupid to know that.

  • GT - 2011-03-28 10:18

    I just cant understand how the overseas okes are sucking this up. It is just so fake it silly. That said, kudos to these 2 for putting on an exceptional show and staying in character.

      Christo - 2011-03-28 10:31

      Jip GT..it's all an act..and they are good at "acting" the part..same as Rammstein..most germans hate them, but they are huge in other countries.. it's just a persona that sells bigtime..

  • Barry M - 2011-03-28 10:28

    You must be sh!tt!ng me! Who the hell is this Guggenheim Foundation? Equally f*cking trashy no doubt!

      Aitsa - 2011-03-28 14:01

      "Who" indeed. Why don't you first Google it before betraying you artless idiocy? I'll bet you're one of those cretins that say you could also draw a Picasso.

  • JuluisMalema - 2011-03-28 10:32

    Just want to clear one thing up I did not vote for them.

      Christo - 2011-03-28 10:35

      mwahahah!! hey Juju.. I heard you got the leading role for the new Afrikaans Spiderman movie.. It's going to be called "Bobejaan Spinnekop"..

  • preshengovender69 - 2011-03-28 10:41

    They are the best thing to happen to the internet since free porno

  • ArtGee - 2011-03-28 10:57

    SAD to see Music has opted to follow the Comedy Mivie Shows... turned into POTTY HUMOUR! When you watch comedy movies, the subject always turns into Farting, Crappping or anything closly associated to Toilets.. SAD!

      Aitsa - 2011-03-28 14:14

      Tjorts! Sad for you if you, unlike the rest of the human race, now and forever, think farts aren't funny.

  • grocer - 2011-03-28 11:18

    Cutting edge art is ALWAYS rejected by SHEEP. If you like die aantwoord, then you are more evolved than the dooses who can't feel art when they see it. SAD. Art reflects culture, and let me tell you f...ing cretins,- these type of characters exist in everyday S.A, and they rock bra.

      A THEIST - 2011-03-28 13:46

      hAVE A gREAT dAY gROCER !

  • B.I.Esterhuizen - 2011-03-28 14:36

    Makes one embarrassed to be South African...

      Robotr - 2011-03-28 16:43

      And a South African is?

  • Flinger - 2011-03-28 15:03

    They are all the rage in the US and Canada, all the kids know them and love them, i cant believe that they are our best communication portal to North America. Before Die Antwoord, US teens didnt know where Africa was on a map. They got my 3 thumbs up!

  • Pierre Celliers - 2011-03-28 17:35

    All you people that support this group, have some sort of shortcoming, like: divorced parents; childhood years up to now was "challenging"; have drug problems; are mentally challenged;Have a criminal record...or you are just trailer trash like the "stars" you adore! Go on!!Take your pick, I'm sure at least one of the above fits you!!

      Aitsa - 2011-03-28 19:14

      Loving parents, excellent at school (I was a clever kid), smoke the odd doobie (without problems), IQ not much lower than Watkin Tudor-Jones aka Ninja. That's me regarding your categories. You're pretty dof, or at least pretty boring, yet think you know it all when you don't even get in on the Ground Floor here, China. Lekker Sokkietreffers or Festival of Light International Classics for you.

  • MX2 - 2011-03-28 20:47

    This crude trash does not shock me, I’ve seen it all, been there, done that, BUT I am embarrassed that a SA music group feels the need to showcase the most common, lewd, obscene videos & insinuate that this is normal in SA. These attention seekers have no pride, no morals & no conscience about the poor image that they are portraying on Youtube & other media sites. Their sudden flash “success” is short lived due to the fickle nature of the media. Here today & gone tomorrow. Good riddance.

      Robotr - 2011-03-29 17:52

      I dont particularly like their music either, but I admire their originality. I easy to just dis them with one slate, much rather encourage all facets of creativity, it's what makes cultures interesting.

  • Pierre Celliers - 2011-03-28 22:42

    AITSA I know and YOU know you're hiding something!!! I should've added "Be honest with yourself"

  • balderdash - 2011-09-16 12:49

    "The clip was chosen by the Guggenheim Foundation, the high temple of contemporary art, as one of the 25 best internet videos of the past two years." Can you imagine what the other acts must have been like?

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