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Prom Dresses and the arrests

It was like stepping back in time to the jittery last months of white rule in early 1994, which I covered as a correspondent. After 45 years of Afrikaner domination of South Africa, apartheid, imposed in 1948, ended far more smoothly than many had predicted. There were some Short Prom Dresses attempts: white rightwingers set off bombs, killing more than 20 people. But most Afrikaners were too affluent and too sensible to flirt with extremism. They took a deep breath and opted, however uncertainly, for the new era.

Since democracy came to South Africa, the Afrikaner volk has been largely out of the spotlight. The National party dissolved itself. Four years ago a far-right group called the Boeremag (Boer force) attempted a bombing campaign in Soweto, which resulted in one Baby Doll Prom Dresses and the arrests of the alleged conspirators, who are still on trial for treason. But the great majority of Afrikaners, many of whose forebears fought the British in the Boer war and then supported the imposition of apartheid on the country, have quietly got on with their lives.

But the Krugersdorp concert, at the Protea Ridge primary school, was part of a new stirring in Afrikanerdom. The performer, a young folk-rock singer called Bok van Blerk, strummed his hit song: an elegy to Koos de la Rey, a daring general whose guerrilla campaign infuriated the British and helped to delay their ultimate victory by more than a year. The song shot to the top of the Afrikaans music charts, the compact disc on which it appeared swiftly becoming the second bestselling Afrikaans album Backless Prom Dresses modern times. (The bestseller was a compilation for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.) As Bok's fame spread via the radio and the internet, he crisscrossed the country, performing to packed audiences in theatres, school playing fields and stadiums.

The English translation of the chorus may sound banal: "De la Rey, De la Rey, will you come and lead the Boers? General, general, we will fall around you as one." But when delivered in that gravelly voice, with its martial lyrics and its military beat, Afrikaner pulses start racing. Rugby crowds began bellowing for it to be played before matches.

Commentators agonised over what it meant. Ball Gowns it a sign of renewed Afrikaner confidence? A paean to white rule? Or a reminder of a happier and simpler time when Afrikaners did not have to feel guilty about their past? Sympathetic voices in the media suggested that the song had tapped into a feeling of alienation creeping over some white South Africans in the 14th year of majority rule. Others retorted that the lyrics oozed rightwing revanchism and implicitly challenged the legitimacy of the ruling African National Congress. Whatever his intentions, young Bok had clearly roused a grassroots Afrikaner populism. 

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