Liberation on the local music scene

2008-10-02 08:05

TOWARDS the end of the eighties an event occurred on the local music scene, and its impact has been likened to a Boere-Woodstock. This was the launch of the Alternative Afrikaans Music Movement by a group of angry young rock muscisians who had decided that they had had their gut-fill of the pious, narrow-minded, patriarchal and racist society, into which they were born, and wanted out.

While never intentionally part of the South African liberation movement, they inauguarated a moment and gave expression to a growing sense of disenchantment among the Afrikaaner youth, many of whom had been left traumatised and disillusioned by their military experiences on the border and in the townships.

The music they played made a promise that things did not have to be as they seemed. It offered an alternative vision to that of their parents' generation and provided a platform from which they could give vent to their frustrations and try to say what they wanted.

On another level their hard-hitting, socially-aware brand of rock 'n roll was a reaction against the safe, bland and boring music being aired on SABC at the time - especially the corny, sentimental mush churned out the likes of the Bles Bridges, which blithely ignored the realites of South Africa's growning political crisis.

Voelvry: The Movement that Rocked South Africa is the story of these players and their music and shows how a motley collection of rock 'n roll outsiders took on the establishment and helped reshape the whole Afrikaans cultural landscape by bringing into question the values and mores on which it had been built. Like all good stories it had its heroes and its casualties, its high moments and its lows.

Ably chronicled by an assiduous biographer, this book serves as fitting tribute to those heady, defiant times.

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