News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

A zefling? Me? I’ll pass

Steve Kretzmann

So Die Antwoord were the most memorable act at the Coachella music festival in Indio, California last weekend. That’s kief.

It’s lekker to see SA artists making an impression across the Atlantic, of course. The irony is that what millions of internet surfers and the odd LA Times reporter is gushing over, is, for certain sections of South African society, the skeleton-in-the closet kind of stuff you’re normally too ashamed to let your friends know about. (Your family, of course, already know. They are the skeletons-the-closet)

And that’s exactly what Ninja and Yo-Landi represent. They’re the incestuous cousins living in a railway house on the wrong side of tracks that don’t even have trains running on them anymore, who rock up at Easter (they’re too pissed over Christmas to get out the house) drink all your vodka, kick the dog, piss in your pot plants and shag on the couch.

And that’s if you’re lucky, they could try putting fishpaste on your ma’s se poes.

So these selfsame cousins are representing. Us. I dunno if that’s something I wanna jump up and down about.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Ninja can rap with the best of them, and probably better, that Yo-Landi is ethereal and, if you bathed her and gave her a better haircut, pretty damn sexy. Their production is world class, Ninja’s put his time in, done the miles, scoped the scene, got the tattoos, and so forth. He, and Yo-Landi, deserve all the success they can get.

But don’t hold your breath for me announcing myself as a Zefling.

It’s not that I’m offended by the lyrics, or the genre, or the imagery.

Quite the contrary, I’m used to it. Too used to it. Zef, you see, is something I, and I suspect most other people who ran from their hometown the minute they finished school, spent the first two decades of my life trying to get away from.

I must have been about ten when I walked into a sitting room in some more cultured place, like East London, and realised not everyone beside my own folks (bless their hearts) dissembled their Ford engine on the lounge table and had a carburettor soaking in petrol in an old ice-cream tub next to the microwave. That it wasn’t in everyone’s kitchen that if you put your hand in the rat-chewed melanine sideboard to grab a fork, you where just as likely to grab a size 13 spanner.

And as soon as I discovered there were men other than my old man (bless him again) who did not wear grease-stained vests and boxer shorts with dodgy designs on for at least five days of the week, I wanted to be like one of them.

Thus, the moment I got my standard ten certificate, I left Vereeniging.

And, to be quite honest, I do not want to go back there, or to any similar place. Not for Ninja, not for Yo-Landi, not for no-one.

I’d rather listen to the blues. Other people’s skeletons are more interesting.

Tags: Coachella, Die Antwood, Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er

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4 Responses to “A zefling? Me? I’ll pass”

  1. Jaqueline Dommisse says:

    Hey Steve – I love your take on this – I’m also not a great fan of zef – likewise grew up in a town I needed to escape from (Krugersdorp). Have you seen Chris McEvoy’s column on Die Antwoord Channel24? He is so irreverent he can make me weep with laughter.

  2. marius says:

    Lol. Spare a thought. I moved to Vereniging 2 months ago. Zef, ek sê.

  3. Sharon Hammond says:

    Hey, Steve. Brilliant piece. The zeffest photo of me is my Std 1 school photo in Vanderbijlpark where my mom drove cranes for Iscor. She moved to PE and married a grease monkey with a beat-up Chevy. I spent most of my teen years pushing it along highways. Super uncool ekse!

  4. dave says:

    Hi Steve

    You are welcome to correct me on this BUT are you not missing the point as far as the Die Andwoord is concerned? I get the impression that they are trying to be tongue in cheek,and are pointing us towards something in our identities as South Africans(other than being white and black) that we can have a laugh at..For goodness sake,don’t take them leterally but just have fun with them….
    Not everything needs to be serious or depressing…

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