In all my years of living, I have always been ‘protected’ from dywels musiek. People always find it weird when they notice I don’t sing along to Tevin Campbell’s Can We Talk (moenie worry nie, ek lee darem nou) or that I only ever knew who Michael Jackson was after he died and the world came to a standstill. I was very confused, like who was this man and why are people crying?
It’s sieke obvious that I was never ever exposed to rap music, I was only ever told it was ‘dywels musiek’. Never ever in my life would I have thought that I’d sit and enjoy rap music. Julle, let me tell you something, it is like a whole new world has been opened up to me.
Rap In My Language
I was Grade 10 in high school when I had the privilege to be a part of the amazing ATKV Crescendo family (check it out on my socials). I had a major culture shock. Never have I ever heard people rap in my language, they were rapping in Afrikaans and Kaaps! It was a life-changing moment. I don’t mean to be dramatic, just bear with me please. Ek was niks gewoond.
As if them rapping in languages that feel like home for me wasn’t enough, I then heard them rap about God! Now, this was very confusing to me. Why did my parents teach me that this genre of music is called dywels musiek when I, at that moment, could feel and hear a special connection with God? Why did every word they spoke with so much linguistic finesse, break down every wall of doubt I ever had about there being a God?
I remember meeting a man named Oxijin alias (Rumarcques Gelderbloem), I had the privilege of hearing him perform one of his original songs. It told the story of his journey with cancer and I remember balling my eyes out while he was screaming to the crowds ‘EK IS, JY IS, ôs AMMEL IS ONBEWEEGLIK’.
Again I asked myself, dywels musiek? This man Oxijin is shouting to the heavens, regardless of the cancerous cells seeking a home in his body. How can I diminish the integrity of his journey and his words by calling it dywels musiek?
There are countless other artists that have changed my life in this way, maa dai’s ‘n storie vi ‘n anne dag.
I now know to never ever use the words ‘dywels musiek’ when I haven’t experienced a song in all its glory or met the artist behind the song. I know better now. My parents even understand now more than ever how beautiful rap, especially in our language, whether it be Afrikaans, Zulu, Kaaps, English, Xhosa whatever vernac can be.
Go and explore our beautiful local rap scene especially, and enjoy it. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but come on, at least try, because when I listen to my people, I feel represented in the best way.