Wednesday, October 18, 2006


David Kramer's Onnerwater

I have mentioned before, with a sense of pride and belonging, my ‘boere’ blood and how my roots run deep into the South African earth. My mother, Gaynor Brand, born and raised in the Boland town of Worcester was raised in an English speaking household, and so the tradition has continued – which is why this blog is in English, and not Afrikaans.

But it wasn’t always so. I mean President Brand was pretty Afrikaans, as was the Springbok Gerry Brand (who I think still holds the record for the longest drop-goal scored against the English at Twickenham, and whose 100 conversions were only equalled by Percy Montgomery this year!), as was the Portkeeper of Simonstown Christoffel Brand, who regularly hosted Lady Anne Barnard at his home, as well as officers like Captain Cook. Pictured right are my grandparents with their Wolseley (I stand to be corrected...)

I always enjoyed the stories my mom told me of her childhood in the Hex River Valley, and all the people she knew there.

One such person was David Kramer, an icon of the South African music industry since the mid seventies. David or ‘Sweetpea’ as he was known as a kid, was slightly younger than my mother, and went to Worcester Boys High School before going to study textile design at Leeds University in the UK.

David wasn’t your regular Bolander, and my mom always said that she knew he would end up doing something different to his peers. He released his first album in 1980 – Bakgat – but it was immediately banned by the SABC and government, because of the language he used to portray a satirical look at life, politics and because of the way he mixed his languages.

David had a number of hits such as Blokkies Joubert, Royal Hotel & So Long Skipskop – a song about forced removals of people in small fishing villages around the Cape. But David really became something special to us all after he was asked to become the image of Volkswagens microbus in 1983. With his red veldskoene, his bicycle, old guitar and lekka grin, David was seen travelling up and down the country-side dusty roads for 13-years, winning the hearts of South Africans.

David collaborated over the years with a number of artists, producing many hits such as District Six with Taliep Petersen, The Eyes of their Whites with Paul Slabolepszy, Fairyland and Poison, another successful collaboration with Peterson. He directed Marc Lottering’s From the Cape Flats with Love & Big Stakes and Slap Chips, shows such as Karoo Kitaar Blues and his latest CD release Huistoe, which looked at the development of Roots music in the dry Karoo. And of course there is Goema, once again a magical pairing with Taliep Peterson, where he explores the roots of Cape Music.

David is proud of his roots, that much is evident looking back at his 25 year career.

So we were very excited when our friends at iaminawe came and brought us a copy of David’s new music video for Onnerwater at the end of last year – and we’re pleased to be able to present it to you now!

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