Die Antwoord gooi zef liminality: of monsters, carnivals and affects

of monsters, carnivals and affects

  • Amanda du Preez
Keywords: Die Antwoord, Zef, liminality


Traditionally considered to be the breeding ground of the monstrous, the limen is the non-place where hybrids congeal and mutate into extraordinary amalgamations. The latest cultural phenomenon of zef as embodied in the rap rave band Die Antwoord reveals precisely such a monstrous hybridity. Zef – a term describing white (predominantly Afrikaans) trash – automatically situates Die Antwoord as liminal outsiders and interlopers. In many ways, Die Antwoord resembles a circus troupe of freaks: front man Ninja is golem-like with his tattooed torso, Yo-landi Vi$$er resembles an acidic nymph and DJ High Tek plods along in the flanks.

My analysis builds and expands on recognised correspondences between the monstrous, the liminal and the carnival. I show how liminal aspects (both monstrous and carnivalesque) are cleverly co-opted by Die Antwoord into a monstrous carnivalesque extravaganza, whereby the liminal is converted into a suspended moment of consumption. The extent to which liminality is suspended and advanced as a consumable entity by Die Antwoord forms the primary focus of this investigation, after which the possibility of understanding the liminal in terms of affects is briefly explored. I argue that even that which is supposedly outside consumerist instrumentality, namely the limen, with its life-altering and transformative possibilities, can, to some degree, be aligned and made subservient to consumerist ideals.