Ik Ben Een Afrikander
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A compelling exhibition that deals with the dichotomy of the historical baggage intrinsically tied to being Afrikaans, Ik ben een Afrikaner (I am an African). Ik ben een Afrikaner (I am an African), was a group show by South African artists Francki Burger, Hannelie Coetzee, Johann du PlessisPauline Gutter, Clare Menck, John Murray Mea Ox, Henk Serfontein, Cobus van Bosch and Reney Warrington. The first person recorded to have identified himself as an Afrikaner was Dutch settler Hendrik Biebouw, who, in March 1707, stated, Ik ben een Afrikander (meaning I am an African).
In 1996 many years after colonial occupation, then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, started his now iconic speech on behalf of the ANC with the famous phrase, “I am an African” following ironically with the phrase “Not because I was born there, but because my heart beats with Africa.”
These two moments stand in stark contrast and sum up the challenges faced by the modern day Afrikaner who is claiming his place in South Africa. Afrikaans identity has become all but subsumed by the legacy of their political position in a racially divided South Africa, and yet the origin of the name is rooted in the desire to establish this continent as their home. A rising voice of new Afrikaans artists, poets and literary thinkers have been grappling with the concept of an Afrikaner identity that is not merely a now shameful label from a time the country is trying to forget, but a culture that in itself is as African as any other.