Vredehoek resident Ernestine Deane will form part of the upcoming Suidooster Fees festival.
Ernestine, 45, said she’s always been passionate about music and she believes her mother who told her that she started singing before she could even talk. She said music was never foreign to her as her family was musical.
It was her former maths teacher who discovered her talent when he suggested fund-raising events where they would sing and dance on Claremont Main Road.
She said the fund-raising event led her to performances in rallies as it was a time of youth movement and youth revolution when Nelson Mandela was still in prison.
“There was a lot of awareness programmes, mass rallies and I used to sing at the awareness programmes,” she said.
It was at the age of 15 that she started singing professionally with hip hop legends, Black Noise before she joined Moodphase5ive who dominated the South African music scene in the late 90s to early 00s.
“Moodphase5ive was a multi-cultural band and it was hip hop that spoke to everyone where we were telling the stories of South Africa and it will forever be a project close to my heart,” she said.
Ernestine said it is an artists’ job to raise awareness around issues touching lives.
“When you have a society built to keep people apart/ segregation, where textbooks are very different from the truth, it’s important for creatives and artists to fill in the gaps of information that was withheld from the people,” she said.
Ernestine said this is the time and the opportunity to address the heritage of the Afrikaans language.
“The language is known as the language of white Afrikaaner and you don’t get to hear the history of how Afrikaans was created. Some don’t even know that there are some Khoi words in Afrikaans,” she said.
She said we’re not told about slavery enough and we put each other in colour boxes, forgetting that being coloured means you’re coloured in with all different bloodlines of the slave routes that the Dutch and Indians came in.
She said the Khoi and San together with the slaves needed to communicate and that’s how this hybrid language was born.
“Yes, it was used to suppress and created trauma to many people in the country but Afrikaans is not just a nationalist/apartheid language, its story and origin haven’t been spoken about,” she said.
Ernestine said she was proud to see young musicians from the Cape flats such as Youngsta CPT proudly speaking “Afrikaaps” because there’s no such thing as a pure Afrikaans.
“Language can separate or unify people and for me, Afrikaans spoken in Southern Africa is a testimony to who was here 400 years ago,” she said.
For her upcoming performance in Ernestine Deane Live at the Suidooster Fees, although the venue is big to fill, fans can expect an intimate space and story-telling.
“We’ll be honouring the other side of Afrikaans, the untold story of its colourful heritage on the homesteads of the early Cape colony. The Khoi and slave roots, but also a celebration of life and South Africa’s potential, Africa’s power. It will feel like someone is in my lounge with me, it will be a connective experience and people will be able to move and dance.”
Ernestine Deane Live will be performed at the Artscape theatre on Friday April 26, from 9pm to 10.15pm.