The rock revolution in South Africa has not only begun but it has been raging out-of-control since 2003. This date coincides with the birth of Fokofpolisiekar – Afrikaans “Ruk en Rol” band from Bellville, Cape Town, consisting of François Van Coke, Hunter Kennedy, Johnny De Ridder, Jaco ‘Snakehead’ Venter and Wynand Myburgh. Apart from slight interest from the major corporations such as 5fm and 94.7, the band has never been greatly received by the majority of the public. For the close-minded that choose not to listen to Fokofpolisiekar because they happen to sing in Afrikaans, they are missing out on a massive slice of South African culture that has chosen to take a stand against oppression of any kind, a government that does nothing for its people and a nation that is still very much divided. “Lyrically they examine the socio-political identity of the Afrikaner, the role of religion in Afrikaner culture, and the role of Afrikaner culture in South Africa. A lot of their lyrics can be interpreted as blasphemous and have therefore sparked strong resistance from the conservative Christian community.” By singing in Afrikaans they are standing true to their heritage and using that to explain their strife growing up in ‘apartheid’ South Africa and coming out of it all as young adults with heads exploding full of creative flair and endless reams of stories from growing up in a country separated from the world.
With the opportunity to finally get some time in studio to record their thoughts onto disc, the band went for it. Driving to Jo’burg from Cape Town in an old Toyota Venture with little money, their instruments, and their songs stored in their minds. Transcribed from mind to compact-disk, Fokofpolisiekar releases their first EP upon the World, As Jy Met Vuur Speel, Sal Jy Brand and history was made when the song ‘Hemel op die Platteland’ made it onto the 5fm playlist and became the first Afrikaans song to be officially play listed on the national radio station.
Through controversy and repeated refusal by the major corporations to accept their music (Musica doesn’t stock them at all. The “Fokumentary” was originally set to be released on 19 cinemas but was only released on 2) So it is clear that freedom of expression isn’t free just yet in this country, but the band still fights and their music stands testimony to this, as does the strong contingency of Afrikaans and non-Afrikaans fans that choose to stand against the language barrier and fight generalisation. The South African music scene is sprawling, you just have to look past the music you’re told to like.