Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Afrikaner Feminism, De La Rey's girlfriend, and soft porn as social commentary

T requested a translation for the song I linked to in my last post. I was hoping to find the lyrics or a recording of the whole thing, but failing that, I thought I'd give you a transcription and translation of the lyrics from the fragment on the singer's website.

De La Rey ons wag op jou De La Rey we’re waiting for you
Hier onder die hemel blou Here under the blue sky
Hulle sê jy moet ons ly They say you must lead us
Maar dan moet jy ‘n meisie kry But then you must get a girlfriend

Generaal De La Rey General De La Rey
‘n Boere meisie moet jy kry You must get an Afrikaans (farm) girl
[inaudible] moet sy wees […] she must be
‘n Boere meisie met geen vrees an Afrikaans girl with no fear

For anyone familiar with South African history, the discourse around the fearless boer women who followed their men into the interior of South Africa, worked the land alongside them, and in some instances fought alongside them, is standard revisionist/early feminist fare. It's of course all deeply problematic, not least because the obvious connection between Son-Isha's song and Bok's De La Rey means that Son-Isha's image of a fearless woman is juxtaposed with Bok's helpless woman and child starving in a consentration camp. And of course, De La Rey's imagined girlfriend sits rather strangely alongside Bok's Girls in Bikinis (the second to last track on the De La Rey album), and the various other feminine figures that drift through his album. As always, the women are defined in relation to the men. But to avoid rehearsing that rather simplistic argument, let me make another, I think more provocative connection, with the aid of Wayne Barker and Annie Coombes. The former draws largely on the latter, though in shorter form.

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