I’d be the first to admit that as an Afrikaner turned English through 18 years of being married to a New Zealander, the idea of going to an Afrikaans concert did not sound very appealing.
Besides, I’ve been in Australia for 16 years. Give me Pink or Missy Higgins any day. Man, I’ll even go to a Dean Geyer concert for my wife’s benefit!
So when Jannie Bloem of the Afrikaanse Klub invited me to attend the Dozi concert as a VIP, I amazed myself by saying yes without any hesitation. I was clearly excited about being a VIP, but then it dawned on me. I had no idea who Dozi was!
Google quickly educated me on what I missed out on and I was strangely excited about the prospect of seeing this “Dozi” in concert. My good friend Johan accompanied me as my date (my NZ wife at an Afrikaans concert? You’ve got to be kidding!). From the word go we were treated like royalty and got ushered into the VIP lounge before the paparazzi could get to us.
The place was buzzing with excitement. Everyone chatting and hugging, friendly smiles and handshakes all around. You could be forgiven for thinking we were all somewhere in South Africa! You know how you sometimes speak Afrikaans so the Aussies around you won’t understand what you’re saying? Well, I almost felt like I could speak English and achieve the same results!
But what impressed me most about the whole vibe was how genuinely happy everyone was ... this IS home!
When Dozi joined us, all the VIPs (I was but one of about 100, so much for me being so important!) lined up for photos with the artist. You would have thought this was Justin Timberlake. (If you don’t know who Justin Timberlake is then pretend I said Ge Korsten or Bles Bridges). I’m pretty sure some people went and stood at the back of the line to get another turn at getting a cuddle from the big man himself.
Moving into the main auditorium, I suddenly realised that this is no Mickey Mouse event. The place was packed out! 600 Afrikaners counting the minutes before Dozi started performing. I had front row seats, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!
Hearing 600 people sing along to the choruses in one voice was something to behold. My heritage as an Afrikaner came flooding back and I have to say I was proud and happy to be amongst “my people”.
During the intermission I ran into an Aussie lady who’s kids go to the same school as mine (Kings Christian College). She recently married an Afrikaans South African and is being educated on the finer aspects of the Afrikaans culture. I managed to have a chat with her without her husband around so I could get an honest opinion from her. Interestingly she LOVED it. Didn’t understand much of it, but loved the music. She did also mention that she loves the South African community! See, we ARE a nice bunch
All in all the event was a huge success. Jannie and his team from the Afrikaanse Klub did an amazing job and everything went off without a hitch. This was the first of many events I understand. Apparently 2008 will see many more artists come over. Nadine is of particular interest to me, but Jannie I honestly wouldn’t mind being VIP at all your functions. (hint, hint!) For more information about upcoming events please visit www.afrikaans.org.au.