Is Die Antwoord a form of Blackface?

First world hipster bloggers and music websites (with foreign correspondents’ not far behind) are besides themselves about South African performers, Die Antwoord. Linking to them. Talking about their style.  Good for them and Die Antwoord. But even boosters for the Die Antwoord, like Richard Poplak,have to concede this: “…  what their lyrics mean — or what they stand for precisely — no one in Brooklyn or Paris or São Paulo can say.”  Which is why I like this piece of of writing, below, by Cape Town writer Rustum Kozain, about Die Antwoord’s music and style:

(I kept the South African English spellings and for those with little or knowledge of South Africanisns, I added some hyperlinks):

Firstly, I like Die Antwoord, and my problems are with how Die Antwoord is interpreted and framed. Of course, I don’t know what its creators have in mind; I don’t know enough about Waddy Jones and Max Normal, etc., so I can only talk about reception of Die Antwoord.

To me, Die Antwoord is basically blackface and blackface is tricky; it exists on a continuum from satire to parody to mimicry to misdirected appropriation, but the points on the continuum are given valency by reception. As Ninja and Yo-landi are personas, I’ll take Die Antwoord as satirical.

But what are they satirising or parodying? The people on which the personas are based? I.e. the ‘coloured’ gangster or ‘gangster’ or youth? Or is it white working class youth, the select few who due to new proximities in working class and lower middle class neighbourhoods, are now developing habits and mannerisms that will not raise an eyebrow on the Cape Flats taxi-line?

This to me is interesting: that Die Antwoord suggests a fusion of white Afrikaans working class and ‘coloured‘ working class identities, expressed in the most eloquent way through dialect/s.

But it cannot escape parody. Waddy Jones is, after all, not white working class Afrikaans (maybe he has roots there, I don’t know; he lives in Higgovale. Although language identity may be slippery here); at the class remove that he inhabits, and …, yes, the racial remove too, the adoption of the persona of Ninja treads that difficult and exhausting terrain of South African entertainment culture wherein ‘coloured’ people almost always figure as coon – delightful language skills (Afrikaans, after all, was born on their tongues) enhanced by gold-capped teeth. Tattoos that mimic the style of prison-garnered ‘tjappies‘ (stamps), but tattoos that KNOW to stay well clear of any other direct references to gangs. For me the depth of the INVENTION is probably the most troublesome, because it reveals an anthropological bent: it is not a persona that has emerged in any organic way, such as our identities change in different environments; rather, it is a persona invented, but clearly based on detailed anthropological study.

Had Ninja been white working class with actual regular, day-to-day interaction with people on the Cape Flats, then the parodic would have no purchase; nor would accusations of appropriation. Or had Ninja, for instance, rapped in a mixture of white working class English and Afrikaans and Cape Flats English and Afrikaans, without developing the visual embellishments, then the social commentary and satire would have stood out in relief. And it would have been an interesting point about fluid identities emphasised. But the visual embellishments – especially the tattoos that tread gingerly between celebration and disavowal of prison-gang style and the gold teeth – do point to appropriation and Waddy Jones has not suddenly discovered his ‘inner coloured’.

Or is Die Antwoord parodying gangsta hip-hop in the US itself? If rappers there can garner fame and fortune by adopting gangster stances (if they were not Original Gs), what would it mean to do this in South Africa? What would ‘gangsta rap’ a la mode in South Africa look like? Die Antwoord could be the answer to that question. Imagine, on a whim the musician wonders: Let’s take hiphop, what is happening in it now, transport it to SA, but with all its logical conclusions. Doing this, Die Antwoord then happens also onto all sorts of interesting conjunctions.

There’s more here (especially the comments).

Comments

comments

Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

47 Comments
  1. Stem saam met niggie Alice.

    "But the visual embellishments – especially the tattoos that tread gingerly between celebration and disavowal of prison-gang style and the gold teeth – do point to appropriation and Waddy Jones has not suddenly discovered his ‘inner coloured’.."

    …verduidelik tog asseblief meer – I dont get it – en wat de fok is die probleem presies?

  2. hey kameraad,

    fanks.

    ek sal egter persoonlik nie my asem ophou vi' hierie lot om enigiets te vidydlik nie.

    have a lekka sondag.

  3. What a load of kak…

    Rustum Kozain has done very little research.

    "but tattoos that KNOW to stay well clear of any other direct references to gangs."

    The tattoo on his right arm is of Evil Boy – derived from Casper the Friendly Ghost with a huge "piel" symbol of the 28s gang. The sex lovers, sodomites and rapists.
    The tattoo in the middle of his chest is the symbol of the 27s the murderers and prison enforcers of the number code.
    That tattoo on his right breast is of Richie Rich, symbol of the 26s – the money lovers, thieves and scoundrels. So don't come with that bull that he carefully selected prison tjappies that don't have direct references. Research!

    Kozain goes on to say, "Had Ninja been white working class with actual regular, day-to-day interaction with people on the Cape Flats, then the parodic would have no purchase; nor would accusations of appropriation."

    We live in a country where people spent their whole lives under apartheid trying to be re-classified as white if they were coloured, and coloured if they were black. And now, in the post apartheid dispensation, people are actually free to choose whatever racial group they'd like to belong to. These definitions are fluid and shifting. There are no hard edges between black and white. But all the "academic discourse" is up in arms about the "authenticity" of Die Antwoord? When in actual fact they're missing the point. Kozain calls it appropriation and hints towards a kind of exploitation of coloured culture. Which really just smacks of sour grapes – as if culture is sanctified and hallowed ground not to be investigated and explored by "others". Jones/Ninja is a South African. What's to stop him being and communicating anything he wants to? Proudly, South Africa is a melting pot. This is what happens in a melting pot. Shit coalesces. People are influenced and find value in a diverse experiences, cultures and ideas. All this chin stroking really just shows people up for what they are. Resistant to change. Resistant to new ideas and fresh approaches. Afraid… and falling back on old, tired arguments that erase all the rather unique nuances of the creative, like default positions. Blackface! Racist! Inauthentic!

    Others look at it and say, if we were going to create authentic South African gangster rap, what would it look like? And there's a part two to this, because now that the Die Antwoord have captured the world's attention what are they going to do with it? But I'll leave that for a story on my own website.

    And the fans in Europe, the US, Canada, Russia and everyone else who is fueling their meteoric rise – respond on the only level that matters. How does Die Antwoord make you feel? Do they excite you? Do they kick you in the balls and keep you coming back for more? I think we all know what the answer is

  4. Ai jirre.

    Alice, yes, I'm bored, just as bored as you surfing the web and commenting on posts as arbitrary as the one I wrote out of boredom.

    Andy, yes, 'academic discourse' is an easy dismissal, isn't it? I haven't been an academic for six years; so respond to the the substance of my analysis, rather than try and dismiss it by labelling. Dismissing by labelling smacks of resistance to change.

    As to the tattoos: they're indirect because they use the symbols, but not the actual numbers. Had these been there (the numbers), then it would be a different matter. Why doesn't Waddy have the numbers tattooed?

    But it seems I have touched a raw nerve, given the hysterical tone of the responses to my comment, and actually leaving me wondering whether responders have read the whole of it.
    And Andy, come now, there's no monopoly on the arbitration of cool and there's no last word on culture. Or is Mahala.com the last chin stroke, as much as you fulminate against chin stroking?

    Waddy Jones has the right to do whatever, I have the right to comment on it; as much as others then have a right to comment on my comments, unless they're too bored. And I reserve my right of analysis – hardly resisting change.

  5. Rustum, how am i supposed to know you haven't been an academic for 6 years when you choose to express your ideas like an academic?

    2, all the people i speak to who are from the flats and have some kind of gang connection/experience reckon that inking the "tjappies" is "kak serious" and could get him killed.

    3, I thought i was quite measured and not hysterical at all.

    4, I accused you of labelling as a response, well more like, "falling back on old, tired arguments that erase all the rather unique nuances of the creative, like default positions." So i got to that line first, it's not fair to do the same back at me ;- )

    5, Where have you been, it's Mahala.co.za and yes we have a monopoly on cool and we always reserve the right for the last chin stroke.

    6, Do I still have your Black Dillinger LP?

  6. hey rustum,
    was i bored, when i wrote the above, can't remember. found a link to this story on a blog i like to read and NOT while surfing the interweb – i found other more interesting things while doing that.
    anyway i agree with andy and i don't think anyone was being hysterical – you flatter yourself.
    in my case the raw nerve would be the fact that no-one can do anything in SA without there ultimately being some "racist" angle on it somehow and somewhere.
    ja, maybe i wasted my time posting here, that's very likely.
    btw when i read your story, i didn't think "academic". i thought "pretensious".

  7. becareful andy – you're becoming the government:

    "in the post apartheid dispensation, people are actually free to choose whatever racial group they’d like to belong to. These definitions are fluid and shifting. There are no hard edges between black and white." is dangerously close to rainbow nation jingoism

    and you're anti academic stance smacks of popularist polemics

  8. Melissa, what would you suggest as an alternative to Rainbow Nation Jingoism? What's wrong with a bit of Rainbow Nation-ism? Is there a better way? Is multi-culturalism wrong? Is strength in diversity a bad thing? I wouldn't say I'm close to Rainbow Nation Jingoism. I'd own it and say that's exactly what I am…

    And what are you? So Entangled In Academic Discourse and Political Correctness That You're Not Able To Stand For Anything-ism. Or let's call it the snappier Academic-Apathy. Or Discourse-Induced-Paralysis. Yawn.

    And then a few basic things:

    It's "your" not "you're" which really means "you are".
    And "populist" not "popularist" (this site's in-built spell checker tried to tell you that)

    Back to school Melissa… Call me when you get your degree.

  9. Andy,

    1. Just to summarise: Waddy Jones creates a cultural product, and the product makes waves. A flurry of articles appear, among them Richard Poplak's. You have also written a number of articles. I find the Poplak article inadequate and write a response. I don't write responses to every article I find inadequate, but I am excercised enough about Die Antwoord, among other things, to write a long response. In other words, an implicit 'celebration' of Die Antwoord because whatever they are doing, it is clearly interesting and exciting enough for me to spend time on it. I do it not because it is my job, but because I find Die Antwoord interesting. But just because it isn't flat-out celebration doesn't mean that it is dismissing Die Antwoord or denying its existence, etc etc.

    So my long comment at BookSA is mainly a response to Poplak's article. While I frame that itself by first giving some of my own responses to Die Antwoord, the context is still a response to Poplak's article. You then respond to my response to Poplak; i.e. you respond to a piece about someone else. The defensive animus in your comments is thus puzzling.

    In my response at BookSA I raise some critical questions (allow me that right); but I also say these things about Die Antwoord:

    a) "Firstly, I like Die Antwoord, and my problems are with how Die Antwoord is interpreted and framed"

    b) "I'll take Die Antwoord as satirical"

    c) "white working class youth, the select few who due to new proximities in working class and lower middle class neighbourhoods, are now developing habits and mannerisms that will not raise an eyebrow on the Cape Flats taxi-line.// This to me is interesting: that Die Antwoord suggests a fusion of white Afrikaans working class and 'coloured' working class identities, expressed in the most eloquent way through dialect/s" In other words, I recognise the fact that new generations are crossing over, so to speak.

    d) "Or is Die Antwoord parodying gangsta hip-hop in the US itself? If rappers there can garner fame and fortune by adopting gangster stances (if they were not Original Gs), what would it mean to do this in South Africa? What would 'gangsta rap' a la mode in South Africa look like? Die Antwoord could be the answer to that question."

    e) "Waddy Jones has sculpted, in Ninja, a persona of what might be if a South African wanted to follow the trend of 'gangsta rap' in the states. If you want to strike a gangsta pose in the Western Cape, this is what you should/would look like"

    f) "The one thing that is certain is that Die Antwoord opens up the space of double-speak, characteristic especially of slave society and known, from my 'coloured' background, as 'kak-praat' or 'gat-krap'. The latter especially points to mischievous lying, something that anthropologists don't get: the informant cannot be trusted because you don't know, can never know, whether the informant is talking the truth or whether they're krapping gat (scratching hole/arse/behind)"

    I'm hard pressed to see these as a lack of celebrating Die Antwoord; instead, along with the critical questions, along with making class distinctions instead of only race distinctions, with teasing out stuff about language, etc., I was trying to provide nuance to what came across as the absence of nuance in the Poplak article.

    2. Your response focuses on the age old argument of authenticity, a substantial part of my piece, but certainly not the only important part of my piece. In other words, you portray my piece as only about aunthenticity. In yet other words, you refuse or deny the nuance of my piece, while you decry, implicitly, that my piece is not open to nuance. Then, you hardly consider the argument about authenticity I make. Instead, you associate the argument with 'academic discourse', thereby foreclosing on the actual argument because 'academic discourse' is used as a dismissive label.

    For what it's worth, my personal take on the issue of authenticity has always been: No one can demand that an artist cannot represent anyone else, irrespective of any kind of demographic difference and distance. It's not even worth discussing. Every artist is free to create whatever character they want, and speak through that character, etc. etc. Artists do it all the time: men writing through female characters, people imagining themselves into all sorts of characters without any kind of connection. But the artistic product, once it is out there, should equally stand up to interrogations of authenticity. Is writer X's female character believable or not, etc.? The product is out there, how does it measure up?

    3. About expressing my ideas 'like an academic' then: What about my piece makes it 'academic discourse'? How is it substantially different, say, from Poplak's piece or any of your pieces on Die Antwoord that makes mine 'academic discourse' and therefore liable to whatever you insinuate should apply to 'academic discourse' and which is not applicable to your or Poplak's writing on Die Antwoord?. Is it vocabulary? How many words in it are discipline-exclusive jargon that excludes you from understanding it? Just because I consider Die Antwoord from several angles, sometimes in sentences, I admit, which can do with some shortening, doesn't make it academic discourse. Or is it, after all, just a thing about turf? Is it only people who are down in the street who can talk about the street? How's that for a demand for authenticity?

    You have taken something you know about my past to frame the post, rather than taking the post on on its own merits. You have decided it's 'academic discourse' because you knew the writer to be an academic. A kind of ad hominem. Since you are the one to conflate biography and argument (how's that for old habits of thought in post-apartheid South Africa?), you could have googled me and easily found a bio to see that I am no longer an academic. I.e. research.

    So, you portray my piece as one-dimensional, do not consider my critical questions in the context of the positive things I say about Die Antwoord, and then focus on the argument of authenticity by dismissing it as academic arguments trapped in the past, resisting change, etc., – these all suggest that you haven't read my whole piece in the first instance, but have zeroed in on a personal bugbear, which is the argument of authenticity. You have to admit that you are exercised by this, because you've invested time in responding to a response, not to an article by you, but to someone else's article. What is it about arguments about authenticity that raises the hackles? Why should accusations of inauthentic appropriation get you so exercised?

    4. Measured response:
    i) "What a load of kak";
    ii) focusing on the argument of authenticity, using it without engaging with my actual argument about it, presenting it as if that's the only thing I have to say about Die Antwoord, and all in the breathless way you did: "The tattoo on his right arm… The tattoo in the middle…. That tattoo on his right breast…. Research!" (BTW, I take your and your informants' word on the authenticity of the tattoos.);
    iii) Breathless writing such as the following, mixed in with rhetorical questions: "These definitions are fluid and shifting. There are no hard edges between black and white. But all the “academic discourse” is up in arms about the “authenticity” of Die Antwoord? When in actual fact they’re missing the point." and the fragment: "Which really just smacks of sour grapes – as if culture is sanctified and hallowed ground not to be investigated and explored by “others”.";
    iv) 3 exclamation marks at the end of that paragraph.

    Perhaps 'hysterical' is too strong a word, but I struggle to see the response as measured.

    5. I don't follow your point #4. Can you elaborate?

    6. Mahala.co.za – How does me making an error about a URL influence any of the arguments I make? Does this error point to a fundamental flaw in my intellectual ability? Then you have to show how this kind of error influences my thinking. Or is it another indirect ad hominem? I.e. Rustum, you can't even get a URL right, where have you been? As if evidence of technological inadequacy scuttles my argument?

    7. I am puzzled. What does a misplaced/mistakenly packed LP have to do with all of the above? If you want to signal that you're Andy DAVIS, I knew who I was responding to. If you want to insinuate that some personal animus on my part drives my response, again: I wrote something in response to Poplak; you responded as if you yourself was under attack, mixing in some indirect ad hominem. So, I'm puzzled by this last bit.

  10. Wow Rustum, such a detailed response… wish I had some of your time.

    Just a few points because I've got quite a lot on my plate this morning.

    1. I didn't read your full post on BookSA, and just responded to the excerpt here. Which mainly deals with authenticity and "Black Face".

    2. You're obviously not the Rustum I thought you were. I once DJed with a guy called Rustum, who I think taught at UCT, and nicked one of his LPs by mistake. That'll help you to understand my points 4 and 6. I was just mucking about with a bit of friendly banter, because really I enjoyed what you wrote when I read it in full and realise that the excerpt taken here is out of context – so I didn't want to cause any additional aggravation. Especially considering I agree with much of what you said, besides the authenticity questions you raise. Same with Mahala.co.za – I was just taking the piss. Relax. Breathe. Some people have fun with this kind of thing. It's not all mental jousting.

    3. Mistaken identity or not, I mainly thought you were an academic because you still write like an academic.
    A couple of Ac-speak clangers:
    – "The defensive animus in your comments is thus puzzling"
    – "you are exercised"
    – "personal animus"
    – "indirect ad hominem"

    So there you have it. Enjoy your day Rustum, and please lighten up.

  11. But anyway, now that I've lightened up…. Ja, that Dillinger album is rare and I would still appreciate it if you returned it.

    The post here has a link to the original, so you're not let off on only having read the extract. You posted based on an extract.

    Those aren't academic clangers. It's formal writing, but nothing in it that suggests it's exclusive to academics and that reasonably educated people cannot understand it.
    My writing is not substantively different from your writing – there some different vocabulary, some archaic phrases etc. But you throw the lingo just as well (at Mahala); but it's ok to use 'post-ironic', post-post-modernism' etc, as long as you do it – then it's not academic discourse. My point remains, you use 'academic' as a label to dismiss.

    Your first post lead to the tone of my comments. You served, I volleyed. Now you wanna say, hey man, we're just playing? But your serve was clearly trying to be an ace?

    Anyhoo, yes, the interwebs is serious business…

  12. Ja man… I play to win… until it requires too much homework. Posting from extract, that's me. Live fast, reply young… or something like that.

  13. Another weakness of Richard's article is the omission of Johannes Kerkorrel and the Cherry Faced Lurchers for first making Afrikaans music subversive – AND, Prophets of Da City and Brasse van Die Kaap for first expressing hip hop's social justice message in the vernacular.

  14. No one disputes the internet fame of Die Antwoord or its impact. (In fact, I linked to Die Antwoord a while back).

    Some quick comments:

    I'll refrain from saying more about @AliceinWonderland's affected patois, her "hierdie lot" outbursts and for projecting racism against her (lot?) . And why don't you use your real name?

    @Andy I link to Mahala.co.za regularly (it's a fresh take on SA culture no doubt, but I was hardly convinced by your arguments.

    You seem to live in some postapartheid fantasyland (you call it by that retired term "dispensation") where "… people are actually free to choose whatever racial group they’d like to belong to." What?

    Then you quote cliches that mean nothing ("Proudly, South African" and "Rainbow Nation"). When you get challenged, you pull the old anti-academic card and respond with some weak nonsense about what's wrong with some rainbow nation-ism: For your information, the rainbow nation is the most unequal country in the world (that's according to the Development Bank of South Africa). And that inequality is still largely decided around race; and there is little mobility; the movement you talk about is hardly a reality.

    When it appears you did not actually read Rustum's arguments, you tells us your emotional response was all about "play[ing] to win."

    Finally, you throw in an image of a "street" kid (how do you know he is a street kid btw?) in "white face." To say what? What is the relevance of this child? Is he contrasted to Die Antwoord? That is to prove what that people are "free to choose" and who they want to be?

    As Rustum points out, all that noise without dealing with any of his arguments.

  15. Sean it's not a fantasy land… I know better than most how unequal this society is… I just choose to do something positive about it. We've lost our way from the Mandela blue-print of an equitable, post-racial society… but I don't think that ideology is defunct. We just need an inspirational leader to make it real.

    I did not know that the term "dispensation" had been "retired". Why?

    And while many people are trapped in their socio-economic circumstances, which are still largely defined by race, people in South Africa are actually free to define themselves however they choose in a free society. Just because many don't, doesn't discount their rights to do and be whoever or whatever they want to be.

    So don't get me wrong on the Rainbow Nation. It's not the blind and isolationist Kumbaya of a whitey stuck in a suburb.

    Rustum actually bought up the analogy of serving and volleying… I just extended it. But it was a light hearted reference to not being able to respond to these arguments adequately because I agree with much of what Rustum wrote, apart from authenticity question, and I'm under quite a lot of time pressure.

    No the irony is not lost on me, that I'm now spending my precious time responding to you. But you run the site and keep offering my writers jobs, so I figured I'd do you the courtesy of engaging.

    The pic of the street child, (I know he lives on the street because my writer/photographer did some research and spoke to him), was just an interesting aside, raising the question of "white face" – but has absolutely no bearing on this discussion. It was an aside, a tangent, a striking picture I thought you and your audience might enjoy.

  16. Sjoe!

    Thats a lot of ticky ticky typing about something satirical. Thusly, I stand by my initial comment.

    @BSE/Rustum – your comment re: me mum's bosom is duly noted. Will have to follow it up and let you know.

  17. @Sean
    "I'll refrain from saying more…" – suit yourself. I'm sure no-one's holding their breath anyway.

    "…why don't you use your real name"… strange question, but ….. because I don't feel like it? Why is a "real name" important in this context?

  18. I have rarely been more entertained by a comment "volley". Lovely. I love the passion. I am fairly new to this interweb thing, consider myself to be very unacademic (despite the fact I am a lecturer at Wits)… just discovered Die Antwoord about 20 minutes ago – thank you for all your detailed observations. Most enlighhtening. Now off I flit – probably never to return, @Andy and Rustum. I want to put that exchange (or at least a version of it) into my novel -please??

  19. nee o gots…julle ouens is net te diep vir hierie vlak outjie…hey, ek moet hol…moet my kar se olie gaan aftap…

  20. interesting comments above. good to see a blog with real thoughts and ideas.

    what i get from DA is something totally different. for me as a white male growing up in southfield close to the flats i know that there is a white lower class that exists who act like this. i once got in a fight with a guy from a gang called "fish shop boys" who used to hang around the local fish shop. they were all white and a couple used to deal crack and had gang tats.

    you may not believe that there is a white lower class but it does exist, regardless of the political crap that gets spewed by the ANC that all whites are wealthy racists living in constantia. in the cape the lower class whites mix with the coloureds – these lines are often quite blurred bue to the fact that many of these whites look coloured and vice versa. go walk around brooklyn, southfield etc and you will understand.

    what DA is for me is a look into the future where all the whites with money have decided to leave and the poor whites who cannot afford to do so become the disadvantaged lower classes who adopt the coloured cultures while being supressed by the ANC.

    DA vs ANC! is this coincedence?

    ha ha! zuma jou ma se skrawwe poes!

  21. Jeez if you want to do something creative in South Africa, there sure seems to be a lot of considerations and red tape involved.

  22. You did not even read the post it seems. Instead you did more marketing. Next you going to tell us they bring out a shoe and that it is great.

  23. Well, as someone who works in a creative field, I know that linear, critical thought can go contrary to imaginative thought and the creative process.

    The point I'm trying to make is that I really don't think creative individuals like Die Antwoord think so analytically about the social ramifications of thier work. I reckon, they just want to get the sounds, images and content etc 100%.

    I really feel that overall they deserve a little creative leyway (spelling) and so should other creatives.

    What would you suggest they do in order to NOT appear to be Blackface? Just curious…

  24. @Greg: I am not trying to ban then, merely trying to point out what they represent.

    I don't know what you mean by "linear" or "analytical" thought that you seem to associate with me or whoever points out the problematic aspects of Die Antwoord's work as opposed to what you characterize as "imaginative thought." Anyway, Waddy Jones is hardly only about the sounds, images and content, as he has a history of creating musical personas which requires some "anthropology".

    1. Yes I see your points, but how can you point out what they represent when in the first part of the article you say that it is unclear what they represent? (assuming you wrote the first para of course)

      I'm not implying you are linear, sorry if it seems like that. There could obviously be bad results from the work they've done. But I think we SA folk are forgiving enough, I hope.

      Anyways, I know that a persona can be compared to a brand. Positioning in the market is crucial. However, that is left to the marketers to analyse and the brief to be given to the creatives to design and create content. Also, there are some highly skilled producers involved in launching this project, so it's not all Die Antwoord who took over the Interwebs alone.

      I can only guess what Zeff, Rave Rap, Mullets, Prison like Tattoos, Cheesy Gear, Funky Lyrics etc etc are going to do to our culture or what Die Antwoord's intent is overall.

      One thing I do know is that it's unethical to speculate about someone's inent in thier absence. Why not ask the creators to explain themselves?

  25. fuck off and stop theorising all of you…get your heads out of your arses and just take it for what it is….hes having a laugh at himself and all of you…boring cunts

  26. To anyone saying just take them for what they are. I agree to an extent, but at the end of the day isn't this discussion what Waddy/Ninja was trying to achieve. If you look at the Andy/Rustum/Sean debate it turned from a discussion about Die Antwoord to a social commentary on South Africa. Isn't that what we need. A little dispensing of the bullshit and actually diving into the nitty-gritty. I don't know! Maybe I've fallen prey to the enigma that is Die Antwoord, but I'm still appreciting the hype!

  27. does die antwoord really matter this much!? really? they (well, waddy) worked long and hard to get to where they are. props to them for that. but really, the musics a load of bollocks. come on?. im amazed at how people love them, but whatever. lets see if they're still going in a year. highly doubt it if waddys involved. stop overthinking shit o's, seriously…

  28. as a canadian i find all of this very interesting. immediately upon seeing die antwoord i realized that there was something odd going on but i couldn’t figure out what it was. it’s odd isn’t it? the further that i delve into it the more it appears that i am through the looking glass. it seems like there are many social issues that south africans are still dealing with on a day to day basis that i wouldn’t have considered if i hadn’t stumbled upon DA.

  29. “Blackface” is such a loaded political term. Perhaps it would be better to see Die Antwoord as “Drag”, since while they meld various cultural elements there’s a playfulness in the way it’s done that helps also provoke responses and understanding.

    It’s camp, and kitsch, in a way that blackface can’t ever be. Think of Die Antwoord as RuPaul going back to his Detroit roots to collaborate with Eminem.

  30. Die Antwoord’s genius is that they are capable of penetrating your psyche’s firewall wherever you have a weak spot. The chattering class is of course too jaded to be shocked by their antics, but I see discomfort and disorientation in all these lengthy attempts to digest The Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er into something classifiable, properly contextualized and therefore non-threatening to people who feel they need to have all their shit figured out on an intellectual level. It’s just a more sophisticated way of asking “Is it real?” (to this query Ninja says “No, it’s just a big black joke!”) But Die Antwoord is truly some next-level $hit in its relentless disregard for all the tired categories of human experience: race, sexuality, class, performance, commerce, authenticity, and of course taste. Culture is created through transfer of experience, not ownership of identity, and the future for a true global culture is for everything to be appropriated a million times over and “fucked together” that no-one remembers who used to be “us” and “them.” Mostly this will look like people interbred of different colors and backgrounds hanging out, calling each other “nigga” and/or “poes”, smoking much dagga and bumping to Die Antwoord. I want to be a part of this future.

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©Africa is a Country, 2016