Postures of Protest: The reinterpretation of FAK folk songs as expressions of (a new) nationalism and nostalgia


  • Dr C Schutte University of the Free State, South Africa
  • Prof M Viljoen University of the Free State, South Africa



Protest songs, Postural theory, Threatened identity, "Siembamba", "Vat jou goed en trek, Ferreira"


In post-apartheid South Africa, as part of deep-rooted socio-political and cultural disputes, Afrikaner ethnic anxiety is pervasive, while marginal and liminal experiences of being white and Afrikaans bring to the fore both self-protective positions of whiteness, and those that strive to undo regressive ideas of white power. Ever since the apartheid era, Afrikaans alternative music has voiced dissenting positions that confront questions of race, ethnicity and power. In this article ‘recycled’ FAK songs are analysed by way of Postural Theory, a theoretical framework developed by the South African philosopher Johann Visagie. Complemented by relevant perspectives relating to an understanding of opposing dislocated apartheid and post-apartheid senses of self, our examination of the deeper strata of the songs highlight postures of (morally and ethically) taking care, either of the self or the other – but also those of meaninglessness and suffering, pointing to loss as a central aspect of the ‘threatened identity’.


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Author Biography

Dr C Schutte, University of the Free State, South Africa

Charla Schutte is a graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, where she studied musicology, obtaining the degrees BMus and MMus. She concluded her doctoral research (Music and Discourse Archaeology: critical studies of GDR 'rote Lieder' and Afrikaans 'Volk- en Vaderlandsliedere' as based on a model of interacting philosophical sub-theories) under the guidance of Prof. Martina Viljoen and Prof. Johann Visagie at the University of the Free State in South Africa in 2014 and has since published in the field of critical musicology. She resides in Wiesbaden, Germany and is affiliated with the Odeion School of Music, University of the Free State as a Research Fellow.

Martina Viljoen is an associate professor in musicology at the Odeion School of Music, University of the Free State. She publishes on topics concerning hymnology, cultural musicology, and the aesthetics of music, and was the guest editor of a volume on critical theory and musicology in The International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, June 2005. She has participated in an international research project on South African kwaito music, published in a special volume of The World of Music in 2008. Viljoen has contributed to the first international reader on hip hop and religion that appeared at Routledge in 2014, and was the editor of Musics of the Free State: Reflections on a Musical Past, Present, and Future (HDM, 2015), published in the prestigious series Musicology Without Borders.



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