From a Nelspartan: “Take it away Steve”
So here I am, fresh back in the Lowveld from Cape Town and already I want to go back and live with the goats in the Cederberg. You all know that Futurama meme that uses the “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore” phrase, well, that’s how I feel about Nelsparta these days.
The whole Steve Stofsuier debacle started last year in July at Innibos. Contrary to popular misconception Nelsparta is not just two streets, donkey carts and some wild things roaming around. Anyone who has traveled to this ‘city’ knows that its way bigger than that. Over 600,000 people in the area all trying to survive the daily struggles our government and technology world throws at them.
Nelspartans are not immune to load shedding, high food costs and bad service at home affairs. The beer might be cheaper here and the traffic problems are not as extreme as in Gauteng, but that can easily change. Of course this being the Lowveld there are a lot of Afrikaans speaking South Africans living here. My human is one of them. She was born in 1983 and she grew up in between the ‘old and new’ South Africa (or whatever the hell that means).
Innibos started 11 years ago and my human tells me it was so small that not many people paid attention to it. After the Lowveld Show (which was kinda-like the Rand Easter Show in these parts) finally lost its glorified crown and throne, a gap in the market opened up because there was no culture at all for the Afrikaans in the region. Because of this, Innibos grew into the festival it is now over the years.
Yes, its mostly Afrikaans, but there are a lot of other artists who don’t exclusively perform in Afrikaans. Last year Stef Bos (from the Netherlands) did a show with Koos Kombuis and the artists performing in English (and sometimes speaking Afrikaans on stage) were ISO, The Black Cat Bones, Tailor, Zebra & Giraffe – the list goes on. Jessie Presto is another example as she performed all over the festival at different stages. There was also a pop outfit called Blckbyrd (yes that’s how you spell it) and the teens loved these girls (who like buying Kurt Seerower’s CDs).
As a cow I enjoy Innibos on a certain level. It’s walking distance from where we stay. No driving or flying involved (which is a bonus). I’m happy to pay the entrance fee to go to a festival. It’s safe and secure and has everything you need from music to theatre productions to tasty food and cold drinks.
Innibos also has a dedicated rock stage, where I can get my quality South African music fix. I know that the other 6 stages showcase a whole range of different genres all singing bi-lingual but that’s cool – there’s a slice of the musical pie for everyone at this festival. The R80 million Rand economical boost it gives to the Nelspruit area is also great and it’s nice to see different faces in our local hangouts.
However, every time Steve Stofsuier’s name comes up in conversation I want to throw a fit, beat up someone and go cry a river. You get the “for Steve”, “against Steve” and “I don’t like Steve but” types. I might be a green cow but I speak Afrikaans. My human and her family were raised in an Afrikaans speaking home and her father is from Nederland so she has that advantage as well.
When it comes to our friends, there are no borders, skin limits or age limits. I can see in her face how pissed off she gets when people try to place her in a box just because of the language she speaks or the colour of her skin. People say we live in a dream world, that we are blind to the country’s crime but we have been mugged more than once, our car has been broken into three times and my human worked 13 years in a bar where she has defended herself against criminal assholes who were trying to attack her. When someone tells her that they want to move because their fear of rape is overwhelming she understands it and hell, even I do. But that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen to you in another country like Australia or the UAE.
What Steve has done is dividing the people, the fans of Afrikaans. How many of you who have traveled overseas were asked to say something in Afrikaans at some point? We’ve been asked a few times especially in America. We have even cursed someone in Afrikaans because it was better to do than in English (a universally spoken language).
Although my human taught me the words to “Die Stem” and I’ve read the whole poem by the legendary CJ Langehoven I’ve always thought of how nice it describes the country we live in. It’s too bad that is being associated with the shit that happened in this country just 20 years ago.
I’ve lost all my respect for Steve Stofsuier a long time ago, long before he pulled his stunt at Innibos last year. A man who cheats on his wife is still a cheater. A man who does it repeatedly is a fool because he does not know the true meaning of love and respect. Sorry, we come out of a home where there was a cheating parent; it’s something that the kids and their kids will have to battle.
We watched the rerun of “Agter Elke Man”, we’ve been to Alldays where his son Armand grew up and we can understand the background that Steve comes from. Those days are long gone, the days of hard working men spending their lives do the “werk, trou en kinders kry” thing. Women stayed at home and raised kids and the domestic workers were seen but not heard. Kids still got ‘pakslae’ if they were disrespectful or naughty.
This political game he is playing seems too much of a marketing scheme – why? Because when he did that move at Innibos he just brought out his book and his latest CD. No wonder he got the number 1 spot for both of them because all you saw and heard for months on end is “Steve this” and “Steve that”.
So what dude? Fokofpolisiekar’s book is still being sold in book shops and is a much treasured book for any kid who listens to them. You are not the only South African musician with book out there honey. Yes we can compare his political moves against those of the EFF, ANC and DA but I won’t get into that. Politics and religion are two sensitive topics.
Nelspartans take note: Quit shoving it down our throats that you are a Steve supporter and will sing “Die Stem” instead of Nkosi iSekela iAfrica. The Cricket World Cup is starting on 14 February, so practice it at home instead please. Stop judging my human and her family and friends because they are white. What are you? A racist?
If we don’t like Steve, we don’t like him. Deal with it. You don’t like Van Coke Kartel or Bittereinder but to us they are awesome. We actually buy their CD’s and listen to them all the time. If you don’t want to go to Innibos because Steve is not there, fine, more space for others that do want to go there. And you know, there will be even more people coming because they are nosy, they want to see what it’s all about.
If you hate KKNK for saying Steve shows are not up to standard then it’s their opinion. Do you know how many musicians (both famous and not famous) submit their profiles and don’t get a spot? Ja, you probably didn’t know about that.
My human asked this to her one ‘oogklap / tonnelvisie’ friend when he was ranting about how Steve is ‘standing up for the white Afrikaner’: “Where were you when he played at Blue Moon in 2011?”. 350 people showed up for that show at a time when demand was high for him. He came with his singing blonde son, Armand and they got 350 fans at the venue. It wasn’t the venue’s fault, it was the fans that didn’t want to come out and support him.
His response was: “I didn’t know he was here and anyway I would have gone”. If you are a friend of my human you would know shit like that way ahead of time, but that is history – like everything else.
Politicians are trying to rewrite our history, but that’s like trying to rewrite the Bible, moving the stars in the sky with your hands or figuring out the mechanics of flying a plane. Really? South Africa is just a mix of fruit salad that sometimes goes good and sometimes goes bad. Yes, there are the bad apples but not everyone is like that. Yes, we are still fresh in this democracy but when is a TRUE leader going to show up?
You can’t satisfy everyone but it’s time we look at ourselves. I’m proud to be a green cow, I was made in China but fuck you my bru, I am a South African by heart. Most of us can speak up to 4 languages (pretty amazing stuff if you ask me). We have a lot cultural differences but that’s awesome as well. It doesn’t matter if you speak siSwati or not, you are going to enjoy traveling through Swaziland either way.
Steve, you should have a hard look at your life. I can understand that you are a pissed off man. If my life choices were catching up with me now, I would be too. I’m not attacking you for the human that you are, I’m attacking what your actions have caused. Everything you do has a ripple effect. You should be careful of that and you can carry this lesson with you, always.
As for the people for are for Steve or supporting what he says: let others be that has no interest in him – even if they are Afrikaans. In essence we are ALL still SOUTH AFRICANS.
To everyone on the outside of the Afrikaans culture: I’ve heard your opinions about this topic. Some don’t have a care in the world, others think the ANC is the best thing since sliced bread and others are asking the same question as me: “When is a real leader going to show up?”
Okay, rant over. Come to Innibos from 3 – 6 July in Nelsparta and come see how lekker these locals can kuier without making it political or correct.