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Parodies of whiteness: Die Antwoord and the politics of race, gender, and class in South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2020

Ian Bekker
North West University, South Africa
Erez Levon*
Queen Mary University of London, UK
Address for correspondence: Erez Levon, Department of Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, LondonE1 4NS, United Kingdom,


The dramatic reconfiguration of the social, political, and ideological order in South Africa since 1990/1994 has demanded a concomitant reconceptualization of (white) Afrikaner notions of self and belonging in the (new) nation. In this article, we draw on recent developments in the study of varidirectional voicing (polyphony), performance, and mediatization to examine how the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord makes use of parody and metaparody in their music to critique emerging ‘new Afrikaner’ identities and the racial, class, and gender configurations on which they are based. We also discuss the structural limits of these critiques and the political potential of (meta)parodic performance more generally. ((Meta)parody, polyphony, performance, race, class, gender, South Africa)*

Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Special thanks to the following for their comments, feedback, and discussion of the arguments presented here: Cecilia Cutler, Andy Gibson, Norma Mendoza-Denton, Philip van der Merwe, Tommaso Milani, Mark de Vos, Quentin Williams, and audience members at North West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa in March 2016 and at the Language, Indexicality, and Belonging conference at the University of Oxford in April 2016. Thanks also to Judith Irvine and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on earlier drafts. We alone are responsible for any remaining errors or shortcomings.


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