A premium slice of the Afrikaans music scene is heading to Observatory on 8 December to kick off a string of Western Cape shows. The Afrikaans Is Dood tour serves as the grand entrance for Afrikalt — a new venture aiming to carve out a forward-thinking, alternative space in the Afrikaans cultural scene.

“We’re striving to lead a cultural movement that challenges the traditional understandings of language, music, and art — with the aim of creating a community that embraces and celebrates these alternative perspectives,” Andrew Veldman (Kontras) tells us.

The project began when Andrew and Damian Strydom (Onskuldige Doodsvonnis) got talking while playing at the Zeegunst Festival at the end of 2022. They then roped in Karel Bester (Die Kraaines Band) and Hanno Jansen van Vuren (Die Kraaines Band and Die Bergies) who had already been throwing around similar ideas.

There are now five bands leading the charge under the Afrikalt banner — Karel Bester en die Kraaines Band, The Karriers, Onskuldige Doodsvonnis, Die Bergies, and Kontras. While Kontras wasn’t available for this tour, the other four acts will be spreading the good word of Afrikalt to Somerset West, Pringle Bay, Stellenbosch and Cape Town throughout December.

Onskuldige Doodsvonnis and Afrikalt
Damian Strydom manning lead vocals for Onskuldige Doodsvonnis. PHOTO: Sarel Cilliers, Supplied/Onskuldige Doodsvonnis

Meet The Bands

Karel Bester en die Kraaines Band are a Cape Town-based quartet combining country or boeremusiek motifs with punk energy and psych-rock texture. You can read our interview with the band from October last year to get a taste of what they’re about, or jump straight to our review of their debut live album.

Die Bergies are a Cape Town-based duo (or trio on special occasions) that blends elements of blues, psych rock, jazz en jam rock into a smooth live set of groovy fuzz.

Onskuldige Doodsvonnis combine alternative metal and provocative, poetic lyrics reflecting on Afrikaaner identity, anger, and contemporary politics. “Controversial skok kuns, is how I would describe it,” singer Damian Strydom tells us.

New kids on the block The Karriers mix post-punk and rock ‘n roll momentum to deliver free-flowing folk narratives in their high-energy sets. “We’re all very young, so it’s very much teen angst music, maar in Afrikaans, and with a deep respect for this land’s heritage and how it’s being disrespected,” singer Daniel Boshier explains to us. 

Die Bergies and Afrikalt
Emile Gerber (left) and Hanno Jansen van Vuren (right) on stage as Die Bergies. PHOTO: Supplied/Die Bergies

Share the Vision

The team behind Afrikalt hope to bridge the gap between the mainstream commercial Afrikaans realm and the alternative scene which tends to exist independently despite sharing much of the same audience.

“As one big community, it can embrace so much more talent and opportunity for the language, the craft, the art, to grow,” Andrew says.

The bands see a lot of young Afrikaans acts finding new traction in the scene. “There’s something brewing, something that wasn’t there 5 years ago. Afrikaans alternative music might be the cool thing again — if I can put it that way — in the next 3 to 5 years,” Damian tells us.

But Afrikalt isn’t looking to nurture a narrow and exclusive community. “We want to turn our English young people on to Afrikaans music as well, and show that it’s not all just sokkie musiek,” Daniel says.

“Everyone is South African, whether Afrikaans or not, so why not harness that to create something special and beautiful,” Andrew adds.

The Karriers lead by example, as a group of English-speaking kids that grew up going to Afrikaans high schools. Inspired by the music that pushed its way through South Africa in the 80s, The Karriers are looking to use Afrikaans to create art and tell stories that are distinctly local.

“The thing that struck me, especially about people like Johannes Kerkorrel and Koos Kombuis, was how intelligent and how sny their social commentary was. It was like listening to Talking Heads or [Bob] Dylan — but in a very South African context,” Daniel tells us. 

The Karriers and Afrikalt
The Karriers perform at Grand Funk vintage shop in Observatory. PHOTO: Supplied/The Karriers

Enjoy the Show

Afrikaans is Dood will be kicking off at Trenchtown on 8 December. The bands will be playing through the weekend, heading to Ellington’s Saloon on the 9th and Aandklas Stellenbosch on the 10th. They’ll be back the following Wednesday the 13th for an intimate show at Grand Funk Retro Vintage in Observatory. Finally, they’ll be closing the tour at The Gecko Bar in Hermanus on the 15th and the Hangklip Hotel in Pringle Bay on the 16th.

Looking to the future, the bands are hoping the tour generates the momentum (and funds) to get into the recording studio and give the burgeoning Afrikalt community something to listen to away from live shows. “We want to be on the fokken radio,” Daniel says.

“We want to be everywhere — in almal se breine,” Andrew continues.

This time next year, the team is hoping to pull off a big event that can bring together all facets of cultural expression — musicians, poets, artists, and performers. But for now, make sure to grab tickets and take part. Afrikalt are dead set on shaping a new, collaborative way forward in South African culture — but they need your ears in the crowd and your hands in the air.

Author

​​I write about the tech sector in hopes we can find human-centred alternatives to the mess we’ve made for ourselves. I get involved in the music scene because leaving passion unpursued is a sin. When my feet aren’t busy on the sokkie floor, you can find me chasing silver linings.

Write A Comment