7 Aug 2012

Die Antwoord: South Africa is pretty fucking retarded

Picture Source: facebook.com/dieantwoord

If you hear sounds of jubilation the likes of which you'd normally expect yourself to make if your favourite athlete were to win a gold medal at the London Olympics, you're probably in the company of a talk radio producer, a columnist a blogger or anyone who deem their opinion worthy of being heard by people outside their immediate circle of friends.  And these people are about to bloviate incessantly about what Die Antwoord are reported to have said about this country while being interviewed in the US.

When asked if they think they represent South Africa well, they went into a long spiel about not being understood in their home country before delivering this zinger: "it's like doing magic tricks for retarded children." That will get the reactionary among the opinion formers frothing for days to come, if they're not too transfixed by the Olympics coverage.  It's multilayered.  They can sink their teeth into the language issue and claim that the "r" word is hurtful to disabled kids etc.  But the biggie seems to be that "they disparaged the country to foreigners on foreign soil".

I don't recall colluding with Tourism SA to talk up South Africa whenever I speak to a foreigner and I don't think they did either and I speak as a non fan of theirs.  So if they don't feel they've been embraced in their home country and they get asked about the reasons for that then they have every right to let everyone know reasons, no matter how uncomfortable.  And then there's the whole whole "role model" thing to which I say, if your child has to look to singers for a role model, then get a time machine, go back to a minute before they were conceived and pull out.

We are a young democracy and we're still trying to come to terms with the benefits such as free speech and many a times when people who is not altogether wholesome, like Die Antwoord, exercise theirs the sensitive among us get their backs up.  But give us time and I think we'll eventually accept that free speech does not only apply to speech we agree with, in fact it's more valuable if it's speech we don't agree with.

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