Posts filed under ‘Nationalism’

On Afrikaans

Taal Monument

There is, for me, something remarkable about well-crafted Afrikaans prose. Her words are fertile; a faithful translation into English will often demand of a translator three words for each pregnant Afrikaans word. She remains, for this writer, a language that at once embraces and estranges her readers, for she is essentially tribal.

Any engelsprekende that has ever ventured into a conversation in Afrikaans with Afrikaners might know what I’m trying to place my finger on: his toungue immediately betrays him as an outsider; there is an awkward moment of sheer horror when conversation halts — and resumes — in English. There is little to no middle ground for those who speak Afrikaans as a second, third or foreign language. Our battered vocabulary and slaughtered syntax betray us immediately for the buitelanders that we are. It is our shiboleth. (more…)


May 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm 8 comments

Die Nag van die Vlieënde Miere

GeckosDeur ‘n onbekende skrywer

In English

“Ons het selfs tot aan die uur van ons dood die illusie dat ons onsself ken, wéét wat ons wíl…”


deur Roon Lewald

Hieronder verskyn die oorspronklike Afrikaanse manuskrip van die kortverhaal Die Nag van die Vlieënde Miere, waarvan my noodgewonge eienmagtige Engelse vertaling elders op hierdie blog verskyn. Ek wens dat die onbekende skrywer van hierdie pakkende, heel toevallig deur my tussen my oorlede suster Deanne Lewald se besittinge na haar dood gevonde storie daarvan te hore sal kom en sy eie kommentaar sal lewer daaroor. Intussen wens ek hom geluk met sy raak siening van intellektuele Afrikanerdom se sielewroeginge op die drumpel van rewolusionêre veranderinge in die ontstuimige 1980er jare. Hierdie laat publikasie daarvan, seker goed 20 jaar na die verhaal se ontstaan, is m.i. ‘n déja vu wat vandag nog – of miskien weer – groot aktualiteit besit. Sekerlik sou lesers graag meer wil weet oor die tyd en omstandighede van die verhaal se ontstaan, hoe die outeur vandag dink oor die werklikheid van die ou bedeling se destyds al onvermydelike einde, en hoe hy die huidige asook toekomstige rol en toestand van die Afrikaner en sy taal in (of buite) Suid-Afrika sien. (more…)

May 21, 2008 at 8:17 am 1 comment

Durban 1947

By Roon Lewald

1947 was a good time to be a white five-year-old in Durban. The beaches offered halcyon days beside the Indian Ocean. The Durban July turned the town into an exciting tourist mecca. The Bioscope was still the gateway to Hollywood’s dream factory of the world. In that stronghold of English speakers, blimpish super-patriots of Empire basked in the last rays of the setting Empire, and the 1947 Royal Visit whipped monarchist enthusiasms to fever pitch. “Our magnificent Zulu” were complacently thought to be quite content with white overlordship, and one of the few blots on white horizons was the rapid encroachment of increasingly prosperous Indian merchants on previously all-white shopping and residential areas. (more…)

May 4, 2008 at 2:43 am 2 comments

The Night of the Flying Ants

Die Nag van die Vlieënde Miere

Klik vir Afrikaans

Author unknown. c. 1986. Translation from the original Afrikaans manuscript by Roon Lewald.

“Right up to the hour of our death, we have the illusion that we know ourselves, that we know what we want . . .”

Click here for translator’s introductory remarks

The sun is rising blood-red over the sea and the dagga (marijuana) sellers have not yet taken up their positions as we drive out of the city. As we turn off onto the Kwamashu road, about the only other traffic consists of rickety Putco busses and minibus taxis, over-filled with black faces. The whites, high up against the Berea, are still dazed with Saturday-morning weariness after waking up to Nescafé and “Goeie môre, Suid-Afrika!” – good morning, South Africa! Altus lights cigarettes for us as we try to work out how to tackle the Afrikaans tutorial for the black matriculants today. We have to do Ernst van Heerden’s “Die hardloper” (the runner) and the passive and active voices (I silently consider the irony that, in this country, the Afrikaans terms for these two grammatical expressions — “lydend” and “bedrywend” — literally mean “suffering” and “perpetrating”). (more…)

March 21, 2008 at 9:38 pm 1 comment

South Africa’s Proposed Pledge of Allegiance

“We the youth of South Africa
Recognising the injustices of our past,
Honour those who suffered and sacrificed for justice and freedom.
We will respect and protect the dignity of each person,
And stand up for justice.
We sincerely declare that we shall uphold the rights and values of our Constitution
And promise to act in accordance with the duties and responsibilities
that flow from these rights.
! KE E: / XARRA // KE
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

There is something unnerving about putting social ideals into words, especially when it’s about a country with a fairly fresh memory of an uneven and divided history. South Africa’s proposed Pledge of Allegiance, intended to be memorized and recited by millions of school children throughout the Republic, has caused a national debate over identity, inclusion and guilt. (more…)

March 12, 2008 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Afrikaners: Voed die nuwe nasie die ou etnos?

Jan van der Merwe , Doktorale student in antropologie aan die Universiteit van die Vrystaat , oor Afrikaners in ’n post-apartheid Suid-Afrika:

Lees die oorspronlike opsetel hierso.  Listen to Eban van Renen’s podcast reading of this essay here.

Impak op Afrikaners se Kultuurbeskouing

Doktorale student in antropologie aan die Universiteit van die Vrystaat oor Afrikaners in ’n post-apartheid Suid-Afrika

“Een van die realiteite waarmee Afrikaners voortdurend gekonfronteer word en wat telkens in ’n onlangse antropologiese studie aan die Universiteit van die Vrystaat na vore getree het, is die feit dat Afrikaners ’n kulturele minderheid in Suid-Afrika is. Hierdie realiteit, tesaam met die ANC-regering se eksplisiete proses van nasiebou, het ’n regstreekse impak op Afrikaners se kultuurbeskouing.





May 19, 2007 at 3:40 am 4 comments

South Africa: A Lesson of Freedom


From the Pacifica Radio archives, this archival audio gem:

“Rhodesia came into existence as a colonial slave state, established during the halcyon days of the British Raj. A quick glance at a modern world map, however, attests that the powerful colony would eventually assert the right of self-rule… that from the belly of Rhodesia, the independent nation of South Africa would be born.

LISTEN to this episode.

“National independence, however, is not synonymous with freedom. Was it possible that the oppressed could set a new standard for freedom-fighters the world over? In the face of modern technological warfare, could they succeed? And if so, how without the gutters of Johannesburgh running red with blood?

Steve „Bantu“ Biko (*1946, †1977) wird

“Stephen Biko, a soon-to-be martyred activist,

++Desmond Tutu


Desmond Tutu – an Anglican priest from a township parish,



and Nelson Mandela, an imprisoned social activist,

would inform history of a new process of emancipation. Together they would prevail upon the state and the world to recognize humanism as the true basis for national sovereignty, and demonstrate a method whereby, for the first time in history, the slaves would free their masters.

“This week, From the Vault explores the stories of three heroic South African leaders, woven together by the songs of Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, and the recollections of Pacifica’s own Eva Georgia and Bridgette Ramasodi, women who grew up in South Africa under Apartheid.

“From the Vault brings you the inspiring story of South Africa’s struggle for freedom and social justice – South Africa: A Lesson of Freedom”

LISTEN to this episode.

May 11, 2007 at 2:13 am Leave a comment


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