PRAAG, the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group, has come out in favour of the EFF plan to scrap the bits of Die Stem still sung as part of the South African national anthem.
“Although, like all Afrikaners, we love Die Stem,” said Dan Roodt, leader of PRAAG, “we have to face the fact that it represents a kind of patriotism and national identity that do not fit in with South Africa’s open-border, internationalist, pan-African policies.”
According to PRAAG, there is vast popular and institutional support for doing away with Die Stem, which is being astutely exploited by the Economic Freedom Fighters. “Just like the Business Day, the country’s main business newspaper, supports the confiscation of Afrikaner-owned farms, the English universities, media, and even religious bodies like the South African Council of Churches or the Jewish Board of Deputies would also support doing away with any Afrikaans or Afrikaner snippets still included in the national anthem. There is a rising tide of Boerehaat in South Africa, which it would be unwise to further exacerbate by insisting on any retention of Afrikaner elements within South Africa’s post-1994 British and pan-African identity.”
At the same time PRAAG supports the singing of Die Stem at Afrikaans art festivals, such as Innibos in Nelspruit where singer Steve Hofmeyr recently got 45 000 people to sing the 1928 anthem written by poet CJ Langenhoven, as well as other Afrikaner patriotic songs. “Steve did the right thing,” said Roodt. “We have to face the fact that mainstream South Africa has rejected our language, culture, literature and traditions and as a non-colonial people we would never force it upon others, unlike the British, French and other colonial powers. Let us sing Die Stem henceforth among ourselves, as a souvenir of our lost sovereignty and a song of hope for the future when sometime we will again be free of cultural, linguistic, political and military domination.”
Roodt also rejected neo-marxist criticism of Hofmeyr’s act in Nelspruit, with left-wing radicals characterising it as “fascist” and “authoritarian”. “These days in our country, everything is ‘fascist’,” Roodt said. “The family, heterosexuality, spelling correctly, giving marks for a maths test, rugby, aesthetic standards, stopping immigrants at the border, are all derided as manifestations of right-wing extremism. The EFF does not wear red overalls for nothing. In fact, Julius Malema is the spiritual and intellectual leader of the South African revolution and we predict that the universities will soon fall over themselves to award him honorary doctorates in political science, economics and philosophy.”
“Let us not stand in the way of transformation and revolution,” Roodt concluded. “But at the same time, let us uphold our quaint habits, such as good Afrikaans spelling, giving marks for maths tests in our schools and singing Die Stem.”