Remembering Kerkorrel

Afrikaans musician Johannes Kerkorrel, who died on Tuesday, would be remembered for his stance against apartheid, Deputy Minister for Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Bridgitte Mabandla said on Wednesday.

“Kerkorrel was also known as the father of the alternative Afrikaans movement,” she said.

“His strong stance against the establishment inspired many.”

Mabandla said Kerkorrel “espoused nation building, tolerance and acceptance of our diversity”.

“Kerkorrel will always have a place in the cultural history of South Africa.”

Kerkorrel’s record company, Gallo, said earlier that he was a major force in the music industry and would be sorely missed.

“Today, we mourn the loss of Johannes Kerkorrel—social commentator, writer, poet, singer, and a man who forever changed Afrikaans music for many a South African,” Gallo representative Paul de Klerk said.

He said Kerkorrel won four major South African music awards during his career, including “Best Male Artist of the Year”. He released six albums between 1996 and his death.

Kerkorrel toured extensively to Europe and was very popular in Belgium and Holland, De Klerk said.

He also hosted a weekly programme on Belgium Radio, reporting on news events in South Africa. Forty-two-year-old Kerkorrel was found hanging from a tree at a

holiday resort in Kleinmond around noon on Tuesday.
He had apparently committed suicide, Western Cape police said.

Kerkorrel sprang to prominence in 1986 when he went on stage in a satirical political cabaret at the Green Room in Cape Town. In the same year, he moved to Johannesburg, his birthplace, to join another political cabaret before he embarked in his singing

career with artists such a Nataniel, Koos Kombuis and Gerrit Schoonhoven.

Kerkorrel was also a member of the alternative Afrikaans group, the Gereformeerde Blues Band.

As an alternative musician, he fell foul of the conservative Afrikaans establishment because of his criticism of and rebellion against the autocratic nature of the apartheid government of the time. - Sapa

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