Die Antwoord on South African Whiteness: About coming to terms with Afrikaner identity in post-apartheid South Africa through the vulgarity and self-denigration of Zef
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Njabulo Ndebele was the one first coining the notion of the ‘experiential transformation’ that South African whiteness had to undergo. It needed to absorb “new cultural experience as an essential condition for achieving a new sense of cultural rootedness” (Ballantine 106). The abolition of apartheid went along with the creation of the ‘Rainbow Nation South Africa’ that called for the re-positioning, re-defining and re-consideration of South African whiteness. What it came down to, was an identity crisis among white Afrikaners. Zef embodies the feelings of shame caused by the Afrikaner heritage of apartheid among white Afrikaner youth. These feelings are expressed through extreme vulgarity and self-ridicule, originally mediated through comedy but lately popularised by the rap-rave group Die Antwoord. This thesis looks deeper into the Zef notion of whiteness represented in the imagery of Die Antwoord’s two music videos FOK JULLE NAAIERS (2012) and UGLY BOY (2014). The videos are analysed using the Foucauldian approach to representation and discourse, considering Foucault’s concept of discourse, the issue of power/knowledge and the question of the subject. It will look into how Die Antwoord constructs, but is also subjected to, their discourse of Zef white identity. In FOK JULLE NAAIERS and UGLY BOY the rap-rave group have the power to produce meaning and hence knowledge, but are also subject to a discursive formation. Finally, the discourse that is constructed by the imagery of FOK JULLE NAAIERS and UGLY BOY will be compared to the ‘experiential transformation’ of whiteness aimed for in the notion of the Rainbow Nation. The comparison will focus on what the ‘experientially transformed’ white identity entailed and if Die Antwoord’s Zef white identity has reached it, discussing its re-positioning, re-consideration and re-definition in the imagery of the two music videos.