Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Bok van Blerk - De la Rey!

There has been quite a bit of talk recently about Bok van Blerk’s song about General Koos ‘De La Rey’, a track that pulls at the heart strings of the Afrikaaner nation by reminding them of the suffering endured at the during the Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902), and what the leadership that a hero like ‘The Lion of the West Transvaal’ – that’s old Koos - meant to generations after.

There have been mumblings that this is a call for leadership today. A call to arms for the Afrikaaner nation. A desire for times that have past. ‘De la Rey’ has caused such a stir that it was even played on 5FM at peak times last week, something that would normally not happen on a mainstream popular radio station. But listening to DJ Fresh discussing it will callers afterwards, I was amazed at how many emotions this track stirs in people.

The Department of Culture issued a statement that they weren’t particularly worried about a call to arms, and that the song is merely a historical curiosity. If it was intended to be potentially subversive, then “those who incite treason, whatever methods they employ, might well find themselves in difficulties with the law”. Opposition parties immediately responded that the song is not nearly as subversive as ANC President Jacob Zuma’s constant attempt at a Pop Stars audition with his “Umshini Wami” (Bring me my machine gun).

I think the point is that the song has raised the profile of Bok, and well done to him for that – it’s difficult enough for artists to get airplay for their best material – and that goes especially for Afrikaans artists. Unless you're Fokokpolisiekar that is!

As for the message, well, I think most white pre-1994 Matriculants were used to hearing a lot of hero worship about the Boer leaders, and how they managed to draw the Brits into a war they thought would be a cup of tea. It was supposed to be over in weeks, but lasted three years, and here we are in 2007 still getting all touchy about it!

General De la Rey died from a police bullet on 15 September 1914, after having driven through a roadblock intended to catch the Foster Gang that had been on a crime spree for months. But it is also claimed that he was on his way to start a rebellion against supporting Brittan in the 1st World War... an interesting story of political skulduggery,terrifying crime, police blunders and a world that doesn't seem to have learnt much in 100 years...

Have a great week!

07/02/19 UPDATE: It seems that although I said a lot had already been said about this track, this past weekend Bok van Blerk was again making headlines; he was on the front cover of Rapport; there was a feature about the track on MNet's Carte Blanche; and it was even played on John Maythams show on Cape Talk. A very emotive issue it seems.

Ultimately, Bok van Blerk has opened a can of worms; worms it seems that were wiggling like crazy to get out!

We're going to hear it awhile longer, and with its catchy tune, it has every chance of growing into a major hit. I the process, as I said, Bok van Blerk is getting more attention than he would ever be able to afford!

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This song as mentioned previously has succeeded in re-awakening the sense of pride us Afrikaners have lost through the years of "apologising" to the world. Bok said himself that he apologises to nobody and that is how it should be. Apartheid died over ten years ago... and though personally i believe we have nothing to apologise for in the first place its time to stop saying sorry and start focussing on the future. Where does the Afrikaner stand at the moment? Where will we be in ten years? The Afrikaner was one of the strongest, proudest national identities on the planet before the world started putting us down. Lets build ourselves up again. Bok is playing his part by evoking that sence in us again. I am definitely not saying the Afrikaner is weak but I am just saying we have forgotten how strong we really are. Dankie Bok jy's 'n held.
I am a proud South-African, living in Dubai at the moment, this song, believe it or not brought so many of our South Africans together, even thou we are far away from home, we still appreciate the Afrikaans culture, listening to this song makes my hair stand up, I almost packed my bags and headed home! Thank you Bok for reminding us were our roots lay....Jy is 'n ster duisend!
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