As South African rave band Die Antwoord revs up for its performance in Israel on June 8 in Rishon Lezion’s LIVE Park, it sent a video message to its Israeli fans.
Performers Ninja and Yo-landi Visser took turns speaking into the camera as Ninja stared menacingly and Visser pulled up her bleached white hair and stuck out her tongue and hands.
“We are Die Antwoord, we play live in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 8, LIVE Park, June 8, Israel, June 8,” said the tattoed pair, before screaming something unintelligible into the camera.
The extremely offbeat, alternative group, which includes singers Ninja, Vi$$er, as she often writes her name, and DJ Hi-Tek, is based on the South African zef countercultural movement, an Afrikaans term loosely translated as “redneck.”
Vi$$er told The Guardian in 2010 that the term zef is “associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.”
Many of Die Antwoord’s lyrics use explicit language in Afrikaans and English, and their provocative, onstage presence was matched on YouTube, with their clips reaching tens of millions of viewers.
Die Antwoord is Afrikaans for “the answer,” and the band has a cult following worldwide.
This will be Die Antwoord’s first appearance in Israel, and unsurprisingly, the South African Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement asked Ninja and Vi$$er to reconsider their upcoming concert.
“As South Africans, you are aware of our conflicted history when for a very long time the majority of people in this country were mercilessly oppressed and discriminated against simply because of the pigment of skin. However, we are fortunate that that worldview ended in 1994. It was because of the brave and determined efforts of people from all sectors of South African society as well as international support and boycotts that we were able to break free from the shackles of structural and institutionalised racism and oppression. ”
According to the anti-Israel activists, the parallels between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and South Africa’s history of apartheid should be enough for the group to forego its June 8 performance.
The group asked Die Antwoord for a response and a meeting.
Die Antwoord hasn’t yet responded to the BDS group.
Tickets are available at the Zappa site at NIS 290 per ticket.