Afrikaaps evolves, cuzzie

2010-04-03 10:18

Most coloureds who live in Cape Town don’t speak Afrikaans, they speak Afrikaaps – a unique rhythmic twang of the tongue that knows no boundaries.

This blending of Afrikaans with English – and a host of fusion words – will be ­explored in Afrikaaps, a stage production featuring a stellar cast of young Cape Town-based musicians including Jitsvinger, Kyle Shepherd, Blaq Pearl and Emile Jansen.

The common ground they share is being coloured, a ­racial classification created during apartheid.

Post- ­apartheid coloureds have ­embraced this word and made it their own, and coloured artists are engaging in national debate on the Afrikaans language.

Afrikaaps is about presenting the historical contributions the coloured community made to Afrikaans.

Afrikaaps is also a word-play on geography – relating to the dialect spoken in Cape Town and particularly by the coloured population.

Holland-based Catherine Henegan, the show’s South African director, says she wanted to use music to tell the story of the Java slaves and Khoi-San people and their descendants’ part in forming Afrikaans.

Through the coloured story of language she also aims to ­“deconstruct the white Afrikaans identity”. “Afrikaans is a Creole language that evolved in the first years of colonialism.

By 1875 it had already existed for 200 years and there was an establishment of white Dutch ­descendants who wanted to take this language to establish themselves as the white ‘volk’ in South Africa,” says Henegan.

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