Die Antwoord's Evil Boy: A Dynamic Crossroad of Language, Culture, and Rap in South Africa

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Die Antwoord is a controversial rap group from Cape Town, South Africa fronted by Ninja Yolandi Vi$$er. Speaking from a post-apartheid perspective, this group offers an underrepresented view of young, lower-middle class, white Afrikaans - a subculture known as "Zef." Historically, Zef has been considered a derogatory term describing someone who was white, poor, and "trashy." However, Die Antwoord and others have looked to transform this into a self-reflective, somewhat satirical, parody that Ninja described as being "apocalyptic debris that we’ve stuck together." In this music video, they display their unique code-switching between Afrikaans and English, as well as Xhosa - the Bantu language of the Xhosa people. Adding to their mixed-bag controversial nature, is the relationship of the Afrikaans languages’ association with apartheid. Through dynamic language and visual use, this video reflects the complex sociocultural and sociolinguistic interactions that occur in this region. The lyrical narrative told is a statement on the clash between traditional tribal circumcision rituals, and the modern subcultures that seem to offer an alternative path to "manhood." This can be heard in the verse by the guest rapper Wanga, sung in his native tongue: "Mamelapa umnqunduwakho! (listen here, you fucking asshole) Andifuni ukuyaehlatini! (I don't want to go to the bush with you) Sukubammba incanca yam! (don't touch my penis) Andi so stabani! (I’m not a gay) Incanca yam yeyamantobi! (this penis is for the girls) Incanca yam iclean! (my penis is clean) Incanca yam inamandla! (my penis is strong) Ndiyinkwekwe enkulu! (I am a big boy) Angi funi ukuba yeendota! (don't want to be a man) Evil boy 4 life! yebo! (yes) Evil boy 4 life!" Through the use of polyglossic code-switching, performativity, sociocultural and racial integration, and a revamping of contextual meanings, Die Antwoord is doing its part to redefine what it means to be young and Zef in South Africa, and what a socioculturally- and sociolinguistically-complex rebellion sounds like.

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