Found on The Leo Africanus on 21 May 2009
By Herman Wasserman
So the Afrikaans advertising award Pendoring has embarked on a campaign to promote, well, itself but also Afrikaans creativity in general. Afrikaans is still big business, even if safari suits are out of fashion (a more serious take on this here).
You would be expecting some cutting edge wit from the gurus at the liegfabriek, right? Perhaps they would choose to showcase avant garde young Afrikaans musicians (surely they would have checked out Gazelle (link) or Tidal Waves, the band behind the catchy “lekka lekka dans“) artists, writers, noem maar op, to underline the point they are trying to make about the vibrancy of the language, its ability to forge new alliances, top assimilate influences, to swerve, flow and dance with the currents.
Sorrie ou pellie. Instead, they revert to the tired old iconic images of Bennie Boekwurm, Haas Das and Riaan Cruywagen to buy into the notion that Afrikaans has to be ‘preserved’ like a jam in ouma se spens or saved like an endangered species (kinda like that old bumper sticker seen on Ford Cortinas in the dizzy days of the transition: ‘Forget the White Rhino. Save the White Ou’).
I suppose old Bennie Boekwurm and Haas Das can still bring a warm gush to the hearts of 40-somethings who remember them from primary school. But the Afrikaans Chuck Norris can only remind us of the days when it was ‘professional’ to keep a straight face while reporting the government’s propaganda.
Does Afrikaans really need nostalgia to survive? If so, it’s already too late for the language. But I still believe Afrikaans is dynamic rather than static- this is indeed where its viability lies. Anyway, Afrikaans can be way cooler than Bennie, Haas and Riaan.