The Long Walk to CHAPPIE: An Indignant Release For MANDELA, And An Indulgent Release For Die Antwoord

Contributing Writer; South Africa
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Most South Africans don't observe Thanksgiving, but if they did it is no hyperbole to say that almost every citizen would pause and give thanks for Nelson Mandela. I happen to be a South African living in California right now, so I was "fortunate" to awaken with about 20lbs of Thanksgiving debauchery languishing in my gut, in addition to my anticipation for this movie. Friday, you see, was the release date for Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom. Unfortunately, while the film has received a wide release in South Africa, it appears to be under very limited release here in the US: it is nowhere to be found within a 250-mile radius of San Francisco (if Fandango is to be believed). I find this a tragically staggering fact to state in a place with San Francisco's reputation for social and cultural consciousness. However, if Madiba can wait 27 years for his freedom, I should be able to wait a little longer for this film without excessive complaint. So, instead let's catch up with the most important film in New South African history: Neil Blomkamp's Chappie.

Twitch has been keeping a close eye on this project, and with good reason because it has all the makings of fucking awesome: Blomkamp working once more on a smaller-scale, with all the freedoms and inspiration that affords, and this time in collaboration with the inimitable creativity of Die Antwoord, South Africa's zef-rap-rave oracles. Filming is well under way, and it looks like Die Antwoord are now burning off a little steam during their first break, replete with "blunts! beach! shroomz! full moon! vc! remote control drone! celine dione pumping FUCKED up loud!". Sounds like a fun. I hope Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Dev Patel are enjoying it as much...

Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, partners in Die Antwoord crime, have been chommies with Blomkamp for a few years already, and Ninja in fact turned down the lead role in Elysium, preferring to make his film debut in something less "American". Well, my prediction is that Chappie isn't even going to be Earthian, and that by the end we will all be thanking the creative insanities contributed by Die Antwoord (in cahoots with another South African mad genius, one Sharlto Copley!).

So, as I slouch in slothly digestion, let me say once more how thankful I am for Mandela, who guided us serenely out of a troubled past, and how thankful I am for Die Antwoord, who guide us sublimely into the bokbefokken future.

Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er. Die Antwoord to Blomkamp's prayers.

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CHAPPIEDie AntwoordNeil BlomkampNinjaSouth AfricaYo-Landi Vi$$er
Pa Kent Says MaybeDecember 1, 2013 7:39 PM

God, what the fuck are you yammering about?

Couldn't understand a word.

Marcel SamsonDecember 2, 2013 1:19 AM

If Die Antwoord is in it I'll bet it will be a horror movie. Creepiest duo in "music".

AliciaDecember 2, 2013 7:59 AM

I just would like to know what "bokbefokken" means.

StuDecember 5, 2013 4:27 PM

Bokbefokken in the most general sense simply means "fucking crazy." However, there's a little more too it here. The South African national rugby team are called the Springboks, or Boks for short. This term is therefore more commonly associated with international rugby clashes, in which the Boks are going to fuck (in Afrikaans, "fok") their opponents up - bokbefok. The sprinbok is more than a sporting symbol though; it's a patriotic symbol that evokes South African identity itself, and it has been prominently adopted by Die Antwoord in this logo:

The interesting thing is that this symbol first appears in District 9, as a militaristic insignia (e.g. - you can ignore the illuminati/baphomet bullshit). This was before Ninja and Yo-Landi became mates (chommies) with Blomkamp, so it must seemingly have originated with Blomkamp, and been subsequently adopted by Die Antwoord.

The Springbok symbol itself has a contentious history, being strongly associated with Apartheid-era South Africa (all "old" South African national teams used the springbok symbol), and was almost abolished entirely during the transitionary period to the "new" South Africa (1990-1994). Rugby was the only sport to keep the Springbok symbol, albeit in the company of our new national emblem, the protea, and this concession was very much influenced by the events portrayed in Invictus. Based on the book, this Clint Eastward film does great service to a South African fairytale-come-true, when a newly multiracial national rugby team profoundly unified an otherwise racially turbulent country, and ultimately won the World Cup at home. The significance of this event, and Nelson Mandela's role within it, on the subsequent trajectory of South Africa cannot be overemphasized.

Blomkamp is well aware of the springbok symbol's complex history, and appears to have used it in District 9 to infer the militarisic power that characterized Apartheid-era South Africa. Die Antwoord, however, appear to have subverted this intention, no doubt with Blomkamp's cooperation, and now use it prominently in their own symbolism. They see themselves as ambassadors of the new South Africa, where old and new have been paradoxically embraced. They thrive on paradox, indeed they are paradox incarnate: "ugly", yet viscerally attractive; white, yet so not white; harsh, yet gentle; violent, yet peace-loving; rappers, yet ravers. And so they have taken something that seems to have begun as a Blomkamp symbol of old South African oppression, and have turned it into a proud emblem of their uniquely new South African movement. Just as the springbok symbol itself went from something that was treasured by whites as a profound symbol of sporting pride, but loathed by pretty much everyone else who was oppressed by a government those sporting teams represented, to something that is now passionately supported by most South Africans, irrespective of colour, as a symbol of transcending the painful past by integrating it into a hopeful future. A future in which the whole world is increasingly enjoying South African mindfucks like District 9, Die Antwoord, Sharlto Copley, and Chappie. A bokbefokken future.

You asked :-)

KhaldrogoJanuary 25, 2014 6:01 PM

Fuck Die Antwoord