In dust we trust

2012-08-17 13:58

Former Wolmaransstad Hoërskool boy and Oppikoppi first-timer Paul Monare reconnects with his Afrikaans roots at the dusty festival

I thought of taking my journal to document the events that happen at Oppikoppi on a day-to-day basis.

But no, it was not that kind of place.

We arrived in the bush outside Northam in Limpopo just after midnight.

I had to look for a suitable spot to set up camp, and it’s a miracle I didn’t stab myself in the 25 minutes of struggle to erect the tent.

In the morning I had to familiarise myself with the location of the stages and how to find my way back to my tent, especially after some massive head swinging rock moves and lots of whiskey.

As much as I was anxious about exploring the camp and the entertainment sites, I was also concerned about how replacing a shower with wet wipes to get cleaned up was going to work.

In these unrelenting dusty conditions a shower is a definite must.

Good thing there wasn’t enough time to think about having a shower. In fact, there isn’t much time for anything other than drinking and running from Wesley Dome to the Redbull stage and wherever else you can catch your favourite performances.

The most incredible thing about Oppikoppi is the line-up.

With multiple stages and a myriad of genres it was truly music-overload.

For those who don’t know, Oppikoppi is an annual music festival at a campsite not far from a small mining town called Northam in Limpopo.

It is the dustiest and thorniest event I have ever attended.

But being born in August, also known as the dusty month, I had no problems with the dust.

Right, who am I kidding?

I would be coughing sand had it not been for the improvised face mask my girlfriend made for me with her stylish headband.

The thorns, on the other hand, were a bit tricky.

I even struggled to type this story because of all the scratches on my hands.

For many of my fellow black folks, Oppikoppi is just another white event full of Afrikaans-speaking people and rock music.

Well, they are partly right, and thanks to my Wolmaransstad Hoerskool days I could fit right in.

My understanding of the Afrikaans language and culture made my Oppikoppi experience even more pleasant as I could sing along to Jack Parrow’s Jy Dink Jy Is Cooler As Ekke lyrics and shout responses back to the deep Afrikaans comments made by MCs such as Elma Smit of 5fm.

At times I had long Afrikaans conversations with my camp neighbours and fellow party rockers by the stage side, commenting on Corne and Twakkie’s outfits and their fake, always erect manhood.

Oppikoppi is not just for rock lovers. It had local hip hop and Motswako performers such as HHP and AKA in the line up, a clear drive to attract a more diverse audience.

The former arrived late but still managed to get me on my feet dancing to lyrics in my beloved Setswana language.

My favourite performance was the tribute to Vusi Mahlasela who paired up with Karen Zoid and took me to musical paradise.

There were a lot of rock bands that I had never heard of before, like Dance You Are On Fire, Bullet For My Valentine and the Eagles of Death Metal (go figure) but I assure you, I was dancing like a Durban girl to house music.

For me the event was most enjoyable at night, as colourful lights came on and dubstep DJs with their peculiar outfits took to the stage.

Besides, it was way too hot and I was way too hungover to be active during the day.
It was my first visit to Oppi but definitely not my last. So if you are not afraid of a little dust and open-minded about different genres of music and if you enjoy being among different cultures or simply seeing girls (mostly white) in shorts, then join me for the 19th annual Oppikoppi festival next year.

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