Rebel yell

Poet. Protester. Musician. Afrikaner anarchist. Koos Kombuis opens his heart and mind to MoneywebLIFE.

“People don’t riot when they see me in the mall. Their response is usually something like this: “There’s that dude whatsisname, he’s famous for something. What’s he called again? Pavarotti? Barry Ronge? Os Durand?” – Koos Kombuis

Once upon a time there lived an emperor who was vain and insecure. One morning he told the best tailors in the kingdom to make him the best suit in the world. The crafty tailors hatched a devious plan. They told the Emperor they had the most superior cloth in the world, but only incredibly wise people could see it. The vain Emperor fell for their story. So did the rest of his court. You know the rest. The Emperor paraded through his kingdom completely starkers and everybody fawned. That is, of course, until a young boy stepped forward and shouted: “The Emperor is kalgat.” A quick translation? The emperor is the CEO, the tailors are the consultants and the young boy, the poet. One Koos Kombuis.

“I have always tried to normalise society by going into the opposite extreme of current trends; sort of restore the balance, so to speak. When Afrikanerdom was conservative and ultra-religious, I lived decadence and drugs. When Afrikaans rock ‘n roll became too cool for my liking, I sang a duet with Jurie Els. Now that we have a new bunch of corrupt politicians, I take the moral high ground and protest,” says Kombuis.

That’s essentially the role of the poet. To hold up a critical mirror to society. The poet’s voice is often one of social conscience because of the ability to see things from a different perspective. The poet’s power is their ability to touch the hearts and minds of people to agitate and influence opinion. Kombuis is firmly (perhaps reluctantly) entrenched in this artistic tradition. He’s just got one extra arsenal up his sleeve. A wicked sense of humour.

“Poetry is something I do when I don’t have a novel or a song in my head. I try to avoid it if possible,” says Kombuis who’s latest book “The Complete Secret Diaries of God” is causing a stir amongst the more conservative sectors of those who share his mother tongue. “People complained about “The Secret Diary of God”, and now that I have published “The Complete Secret Diaries of God” – an extension of the original – they might complain again. It’s important to remember that these books are ‘stories’. They are not meant to be taken as gospel truth, therefore, by definition, they are not in competition with the Bible (or people who propagate the Bible), and cannot possibly be classified as blasphemous.”

Asked why he wrote the book, Kombuis explains: “Deepak Choprah once said something to the effect that humour and religion don’t sit comfortably together. I think we need to bring the irony of a good sense of humour into everything, even religion. I’m pretty sure God has a sense of humour. Otherwise He (or She) would not have created a creature like the platypus, or a person like, for instance, Marc Lottering.”

An icon of Afrikaner non-conformism Kombuis first made a name for himself during the 80’s as a member of Voelvry (free as a bird), a collective of musicians who sought to liberate Afrikaans from the shackles of it’s repressive past. A tumultuous time, Kombuis reflects on what advice he’d give to himself if he could go back in time: “I might end up telling myself exactly the same thing my father used to tell me: ‘Quit smoking dagga, stop acting ridiculous, and get a real job.’ And, of course, I wouldn’t listen, so what’s the point? Worst of all, if I had my life over I’d probably do it all again. As the ANC Youth League is proving again and again, it is the prerogative of the youth to behave in a precocious, stupid and utterly irresponsible way.”

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A week-end without good red wine.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Beyerskloof Pinotage.

How do you indulge yourself?
Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2006.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Jesus Christ.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Beyers Truter, Andy Warhol, Frik du Preez, and Hugh Hefner.

Who is your favorite musician?
Bob Dylan, Jan Blohm, Kate Bush.

Who is your favorite poet?
Pablo Neruda.

Who is your favorite writer?
Douglas Adams.

The quality you most admire in a man?
Bisexuality; I wish I could attain that. 

The quality you most admire in a woman?
Bisexuality; it should be compulsory.

Your favorite virtue?
A sense of humour.

What do you most value in your friends?
If it doesn’t bother them when I forget their birthdays.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Beyerskloof Field Blend 2003.

What irritates you?
People who hold up the normal flow of traffic by driving 60 kilometers per hour in a 60 kilometer per hour zone.

What do you love?
Beyerskloof in general.

What’s the best advice anyone’s ever given you?
“Don’t ever run out of Tobasco”.

What’s your motto?
“Eat, Drink, and B minor.”

COMMENTS   12

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This was a great laugh – but Kombuis is a legend. Afrikaner satirist of note – and thank God he’ll never run out of material…

Preferable to Poet. Ornithologist. Expert. Singer. Kombuis is a legend

Andre is getting suburbian…with the same suburbian moans as us mediocre masses. Poets dont become suburbian! His latest album is also 1 big moan. Being a mlungu it just doesnt ring true. It worked during “winde van verandering” because it was a whity telling other whities.

It has always been mostly the English media paying any attention this guy, because he has been so anti-Afrikaner. His humor is really low class and crass.

Easy to slate what you don’t agree with isn’t it? Kombuis would hardly get sustained interest from the more intelligent media if he didn’t have something worth saying.

And by the way you lie.

Kombuis is regularly covered by your rags:

http://soek.beeld.co.za/search?s=BEELD

Chartered Accountant Bez Valley, you sir, are a poepol and an embarrasment to the fine area you purport to represent.

Now that’s the best thing I’ve heard all day.

He is one of the original Afrikaans rebels.Always witty and sometimes very funny.Read his book about his life-one of the most entertaining books ever.

Agree-CA jy is n banana.

CA banana? That’s insulting fruit.

The CA = California, where I have to live, because poepols like you bunch and kk took so much delight in cracking down Afrikaner culture, that nothing to be proud of remained. Being a contrarian can be good, to provide change within the system. But to take delight in destroying your own people’s culture and replace it by some low class, crass, toilet humor?. Oh! wait , he ” resigned” from his own people! The ones who fought and civilized the country for 300 years to allow him to be able to protest? You bunch must all be wearing brown hats from being so deep up

I see our gain is California’s loss.

End of comments.

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