This Adriaanus meme: Why it's a quintessential South African viral phenomenon

2019-09-02 14:50
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Afrikaans rapper Biggy’s latest song, 'Dames' has taken South Africa by storm. And, frankly, that’s just no surprise. 

If you haven’t heard the lyrics: 

"Dames, sê my wat jou naam is, my name is Adriaanus" ("Ladies tell me your name, my name is Adriaanus"), then it's safe to say you’ve probably been living in a cult - or have been on a digi-detox somewhere in Indonesia. 

With this song, South Africans are drinking the Kool-Aid. Parched for relatable content, locals have united over this catchy Afrikaans tune.

And even though the song was released in May of this year already, it has gradually worked its way into the Whatsapp groups, Twitter and Facebook feeds and headspaces (Can't get it out of my head!) of South Africans, who have responded to it with a resounding chuckle. 

PE is proud, claiming Biggy (of ou Grote?) as their very own, sad but lovable, Adriaanus. 

READ: More black than white South Africans leaving the country 

Interesting fact: Adriaanus is a very popular name in Belgium and The Netherlands - much more so than in South Africa.

Why this is a quintessential South African viral phenomenon

If the past has taught us anything, it is that South Africans can (and do) roll with the f-ups. 

'My f** Marelise'

'Hier is 'n vet f*kop'

These are just two examples of recent viral videos, which showed faux pas play out in everyday life. Those faux pas could have happened to anyone. And South Africans (and some international audiences, even) united in laughing at the expense of these characters. 

However, as with embarrassing songs of our past (‘Leeuloop’ comes to mind), it is not the stereotype we are laughing at. We are not mean-spirited or ill-wishing when we 'laugh at' in this case, rather it shows our ever-willingness to laugh at ourselves. 


With a song like ‘Dames’, which drips with misogyny and the objectification of women, we choose to disregard the heinous nature of the actual words and low-budget music video that could've easily been shot somewhere in a Bellville backyard, and choose to approach it with humour. Not necessarily a bad thing. 

READ: From the Blue Train to the Metro Rail: How South African politicians are travelling in 2019 

South Africans can poke fun at each other, without suppressing each other. This is a strain of humour that transcends race, class and political alignments – reiterating a shared culture of ‘lets just roll with all the f-ups’ and move the hell on. 

*Compiled by Marisa Crous

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