Afrikaans in Crisis?

"As ek droom dan droom ek in my taal,
en as ek saans
voor ek gaan slaap
met my God praat,
dan praat ek in my taal."

Chris Chameleon, one of my favourite Afrikaans singers, sings this in one of his songs and freely translated it reads:  "When I dream, I dream in my own language, and when I speak to my God at night, before I go to sleep, I speak in my own language".  This is also true of me.

Afrikaans is my mother tongue.  It is the language I think in, I dream in, I pray in.  I get excited and angry in Afrikaans... and I mourn in Afrikaans.  No matter how much I enjoy other languages, Afrikaans is the language I return to always, when in need of comfort or security.

Over the last couple of years, according to the prophets of doom, Afrikaans as a language has been in crisis.  They make this claim on the basis that Afrikaans is no longer one of only two official languages, but one of eleven.  I do not agree with them.  To me Afrikaans is not in crisis... indeed, it is growing like never before. 

One of the areas where it had phenomenal growth is in music. Kurt Darren, probably the biggest Afrikaans music seller at present, own a game farm about 15 kilometres from my home.  On 19 February this year, he turned 40, and decided to have a music festival on this farm to celebrate this milestone birthday.  Fifteen thousand tickets were made available and it was promised that there will also be tickets available for sale at the gate.

Fifteen thousand people attending a festival, roughly 200 kilometres from the city, in the middle of beyond, out in the bush, for only a few hours?  No way!  If they get 10 000 they would be lucky... or so everybody thought!

When the town started filling up on the morning of Saturday, 20 February, it was not unusual.  After all, Naboomspruit is a popular weekend escape for the people from Gauteng and with the Kurt Darren birthday party happening in the afternoon and evening, nobody thought it strange. 

We arrived at the venue at about three o'clock and this is the scene that greeted us.

A huge stage with screens and already many people relaxing and having fun. (Further back from the stage there was another huge screen.)  This was 4 hours before the actual show started.  By the start of the show, the entire area was filled with happy people and there was still a 10 kilometre queue of cars waiting to gain entrance!

The expected crowd of 15 000 people in the end grew to a crown of 25+ thousand people.  The really amazing thing about this was the attitude of this huge crown.  Strangers became instant friends to joke with, jump with, shout with and dance with... all united in their love of Afrikaans music.

So you decide for yourself.  Is Afrikaans in crisis?  Personally I think NOT!

Even though the quality of the photo is very poor, I could not resist!
Theuns Jordaan, Bok van Blerk and Kurt Darren.


Jo said...

I hope Afrikaans is not in crisis. When I was a little girl, I used to love to listen to my mother's Afrikaans records. I could sit and listen to them for hours. And I loved hear my mother and her parents speak in Afrikaans.

I'm so glad to hear the show had such a huge turnout!

Kirsty said...

I also saw your title and thought "No WAY!" I think Afrikaans is not only healthy - it's alive and thriving! It's such a fascinating language - relatively young, with old roots all over the world. And it's still evolving. I learned a lot while working with a great bunch of coloured guys in the Western Cape - their Afrikaans is vibrant and colourful. And then there is the Afrikaans of my grandfather. It's a wonderful language, and the only one I've ever had a real craving to speak fluently.

P.S I'm listening to Johannes Kerkorrel as we speak/type!

Deborah said...

What a fabulous event! It certainly seems that reports of Afrikaans' demise are greatly exaggerated!

DUTA said...

Very interesting post!

The Afrikaans language reminds me in a way of the Yeddish language. The latter is a sort of germanic language spoken in the past by jews of european origin.

They 'burried' this language long ago, and yet it refuses to die. In some parts of the world there are theaters presenting spectacles in Yeddish, publications in this language, and it is nowadays spoken especially in the orthodox jewish religious circles: in their schools, synagogues, and at home. There are also some universities offering courses for studying the language and the literature written in it.So, one could say that it's very much alive.

A human kind of human said...

Thank you for all the comments. Afrikaans is indeed alive and well and living in South Africa... and Korea... and the UK... and Australia... and.... With so many expats all over the world, Afrikaans is not only growing, it is also spreading. I sometimes read the Wordpress blog of a Korean born American living in New York State who is currently learning to speak Afrikaans.

Sandy said...

When I visited SA a few years ago on safari I was totally enchanted by Afrikaans. Of course, I had never heard it and since I know a bit of German I heard many familiar words when I listened closely.

Judging by the people I met who spoke Afrikaans, as well as many other languages which I was very impressed by, I would say it will be a very long time, if ever, before the language disappears. Please visit me and click on my Adventures tab to see some of my photos.

Verdant said...

"I sometimes read the Wordpress blog of a Korean born American living in New York State who is currently learning to speak Afrikaans."

Mag ek die skakel kry, asseblief? Ek is ook 'n Amerikaner wat in Korea gebore is :). Afrikaans is 'n mooi taal.

A human kind of human said...

My liewe Verdant, hoe lekker lag ek nou. Dit is jy met wie ek so spog... gaan kyk net op jou eie blog. Dankie dat jy my blog besoek het. Groete.

A human kind of human said...

Jammer Verdant, terwyl ek die post geskryf het, het ek gedink dat jy op Wordpress blog, vergewe asseblief. Ek het ook 'n Afrikaanse blog op Wordpress en as jy belangstel kan jy net vir "Ek is Anna" Google dan sal jy daar uitkom.

A human kind of human said...

I must apologise. In a comment I mention that I am reading a blog of a Korean born American living in New York State, who is learning the Afrikaans language. This is wrong. Verdant is living in San Fransisco and he has a blog on Blogspot. Sorry all for the wrong information, it was not intentional (neither is the egg on my face 0 lol)

Verdant said...

Dit is nie 'n probleem nie! Ek is bly dat jy die konsert geniet het :).

Anonymous said...

Very interesting topic , thanks for posting .

Anonymous said...

Thank you amazing blog, do you have twitter, facebook or something similar where i can follow your blog

Sandro Heckler

Anonymous said...

I cant find a link where i can subscribe to this blog, webmaster how can i follow your blog?

Teddy Tschicke

Anonymous said...

All stylishly written