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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Die sing van "Vlaglied" in sommige wit Afrikaanse skole in die 1980's : geesteswetenskappe

Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1995-5928

 

Abstract

Die teks en musiek van "Vlaglied" het my reeds in die 1980's gehinder, toe ek dit as deel van my pligte soggens by die skoolopening by 'n wit Afrikaanse Vrystaatse skool op die klavier moes begelei. Dit is egter eers onlangs dat ek oor die moontlike betekenisse en herkoms van die lied begin navorsing doen het. Ek het bevind dat die gebruik daarvan waarskynlik nie van owerheidsweë afgedwing was nie, maar dat dit tog by baie skole, veral in die eertydse Oranje-Vrystaat en Transvaal, as roetine in die oggende gesing is. Ek het ook bevind dat hierdie lied geskik was vir indoktrinasie in die apartheidsideologie. Dit was juis in hierdie tyd dat dit toenemend begin duidelik word het dat apartheid as 'n sisteem en ideologie nie volhoubaar was nie. Musiek kon dus kulturele werk doen waar die politiek nie langer kon bykom nie. Die teks van "Vlaglied" word in hierdie artikel ontleed, aan die hand van 'n boek wat in 1983 verskyn het en waarin die skrywer (J.M. du Preez) die "meestersimbole" in skoolhandboeke wat in 1980 en 1981 vir hoërskole in Suid-Afrika voorgeskryf is, uitlig en bespreek. Hierdie artikel toon aan dat meestersimbole, soos godsdiens, grond, nasie/volk, blanke oorheersing / nieblanke ondergeskiktheid, (ras-) suiwerheid, militarisme en manlikheid, ook in "Vlaglied" teenwoordig is. Die teks van "Vlaglied" word ondersteun deur die aard van die musikale begeleiding. Dit is 'n mars, maar in teenstelling met die feestelike "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika", ook 'n mars, is "Vlaglied" swaar en afgemete, met 'n sterk militêre karakter. Die "geweld" van hierdie musiek, so word in hierdie artikel aangevoer, herinner aan die argitektuur van die ideologie in wie se diens dit gestaan het. Hoewel die sing van "Vlaglied" (sover vasgestel kon word) nie deur die apartheidsregering afgedwing is nie, was daar sterk aanmoediging daarvoor, in sowel die parlement as in burgerlike publikasies. Die gevolgtrekking is dat die onderwyssisteem in die 1980's sangstukke soos "Vlaglied" in talle wit Afrikaanse skole as deel van die "verborge kurrikulum" gebruik het om skoliere in apartheidswaardes te indoktrineer.


The text and music of the song "Vlaglied" started troubling me as far back as the 1980s, when I had to accompany pupils singing it at morning assembly as part of my duties at a white Afrikaans Free State school. I suspected that the singing of this song bolstered the apartheid ideology. It was, however, only recently that I began to research the origin and possible meaning of the song.
The first phase of this research was an investigative study and it consisted of surveying Afrikaans-speaking people in the age group of about 40 to 50 years, because they were in school during the 1980s. The people were chosen at random and the interaction with them was oral and person to person. The questions asked were: "Were you at school during the 1980s?" and if "Yes", "Was 'Vlaglied' sung at morning assembly at your school?". The third question was: "Where were you at school?"
The people questioned at this stage of the investigation came from a wide range of occupations, including the plumber working at my house and lecturers at two local universities. Answers to the first two questions were simply either "Yes" or "No". The conclusions reached during this first phase of the survey were that "Vlaglied" was sung at morning assembly at a large number of schools during the 1980s, and that it was more often sung in schools in the former Transvaal and Orange Free State than in the Cape and Natal.
The second and most important phase of the research consisted of a textual and musical analysis of "Vlaglied" in order to answer the main research question, namely whether/how the singing of the song bolstered the apartheid ideology.
The textual analysis was carried out according to the so-called "master symbols" identified by J.M. du Preez in her study , which was published in 1983.This textual analysis included the meanings of words as well as the semantic context of the song, including religion, land, nation/people ("volk"), white supremacy / non-white subordination, purity, militarism and masculinity.
The musical analysis did not include a full harmonic analysis; the structure and the harmony of the composition were analysed to determine how they support the meaning of the words / the semantic context. The song is a march with a military character. The melody and rhythm are heavy and simple. The first part of the song consists almost completely of tonic and dominant harmony, while in the second part of the song chromatic elements are confined to secondary dominant and leading tone chords.
The investigation concluded that as late as the 1980s the white education system (as an "own affair" matter in the political language of the time, maintaining its Christian and national character) indoctrinated learners in the values of apartheid. The programmed singing of "Vlaglied" was utilised to further this aim. Even though, as far as I could tell, the apartheid government did not actually force schools to sing the song there was, nonetheless, active encouragement from the authorities in parliament and in public publications to do so.

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2017-02-24

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