May Down Under vacuum the Shauns from our country

In response to Shaun de Waal’s review of Afrikaans popular movie Platteland in the Mail & Guardian, Paint your oxwagon:

Haha, yes, every time I notice the local sout bevolking crawling out of their cramped Italian pseudo-villas in their ill-fitting T-shirts and jeans I get vaguely curious, thinking: Who are these people anyway? Missus, thrice divorced, still believes that she’s really sexy in tight jeans at 55 and balding Mister sports a manly tattoo on his forearm, a kind of psychological prop for the physique that is falling apart due to too much beer, TV and cigarettes. Living Duane Hanson sculptures pushing the shopping trolleys of their “global culture” along the existential void of their lives.

Then along comes Shaun de Waal and demonstrates to us that “something has survived” from the Jurassic Park of Empire and that deep inside the suburban would-be American or Australian’s mind lurks some sort of identity, a negative identity. Like, we still hate dem dumb Dutchmen. Congratulations! You actually made it to 2011, without being killed by some roving liberated black man with a stolen SADF assault rifle.

Immediate question, however: Why does Shaun de Waal not change his surname? After all, it hardly carries any chic with the rest of the Anglo crowd desperately trying to cling onto a British accent. Uncomfortable genealogical questions might surface around après-ski or après-British-soccer-on-TV drinks, one imagines. Why not Shaun Smith or even Shaun Mountbatten? Apparently name changes are dirt cheap to do through Home Affairs and if you pay a bribe it could be delivered shockingly pronto.

Unfortunately, brain transplants or improving your genes – that’s something different to jeans, look it up if you missed school biology in the old SA – do not come that easily or cheaply. Coping with your congenital physical and mental inferiority and going through convulsive episodes of megalomania brought on by examples of Afrikaner popular culture no doubt make for a sorry existence. And then, rooinek ethnic angst is sooo boring and predictable. I sometimes wonder how these low-life jingoes survive at all in South Africa. After all, how can one eat vegetables knowing that they emanate from some odious Boereplaas? Or perhaps at the Spur, which Shaunie will appreciate as a temple of his universal culture, enjoying the semiological intricacies of the Indian motifs on the wall or on the menu, he will ask for imported Argentinian or Brazilian steak, lest he inadvertently contributes to the Afrikaner economy.

On the other hand, the culinary tastes of the species do not extend much beyond junk food or TV dinners from Woolworths, so the Spur would count as something of a gourmet experience. Quoting JM Coetzee is not exactly kosher either… Didn’t he include some Afrikaans dialogue in “In the heart of the country”? But at least he is an Aussie now and may be certified biltong or melktert-free. Not that I have anything against Australia, that cultured nation. I just hope Down Under will finally vacuum all these Shauns from our country. Paul Kruger should never have allowed them in here. Afrikaner tolerance has always been our great weakness.

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