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03 February 2012

I fink you're fried in the head

A new video from Die Antwoord I fink you're freeky, features Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er's seven-year-old daughter called Sixteen. What the *%&^ asks Susan Erasmus.

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A new video from Die Antwoord I fink you're freeky, features Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er's seven-year-old daughter called Sixteen. What the *%&^ asks Susan Erasmus.

While I can't say I am exactly a fan of either Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er, or Jane Alexander's very scary piece The Butcher Boys on which the album is based, it is not the music, the video, (though it is seriously dark) or the sculpture that bothers me so much. It's the child's name.

Watch the video here.

Please, please tell me she's not really called Sixteen. I would settle for just about anything else: Gertruida, Mildred, Delysia, Ossewania to name but a few. I would even settle for the disturbing Mara (which means 'bitter').

When Sixteen was born, her parents must have been fairly unknown on the music front, and in some ways  just another boring suburban couple. There was no need for them to take the predictable celebrity step of calling their kid something weird like Memphis Eve (Bono's child) or Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone's daughter) or Fifi Trixibelle (daughter of Paula Yates and Bob Geldof). The Beckhams have called their daughter Harper Seven – I ask you.

 

Imagine the following scene six decades from now.

Ron: Hi, I am Ron.

Sixteen (at age 67): Hi. Pleased to meet you. I am Sixteen.

(Whoa – have you got the ambulance on speed dial?)

 

When parents name their kids, they have to accept the fact that this isn't really about them. Choosing a name that's not going to cause lifelong embarrassment (I don't care if your rich auntie was called Arabella Gudrun) to the child is part of the process of acknowledging that you are now a parent, and  that it's no longer all about you. There is a point where attention-seeking behaviour in a parent is no longer age-appropriate, whatever their professions.

On the topic of names: I have to wonder whether Brad and Angelina gave it any thought that on the playground their daughter's name, Shiloh Pitt, was very quickly going to be transformed into Pile of Sh*t.

Poor kids. Unless they're complete brats, all most of them want is stability, routine, parents who love them and a few friends who don't mock them because of their names, or because of their parents. These are not unreasonable things for a child to want and millions of ordinary parents out there manage to provide these. What scares me is that the more money and fame parents have, the less able they seem to provide these basics.

Just a quick last word on Jane Alexander's  The Butcher Boys and the I fink you're freeky video:

When I saw The Butcher Boys in the South African National Art Gallery for the first time, it had the same effect on me as Die Antwoord's video: I wanted to back off slowly in case they were armed, not make any sudden movements and not lose eye contact. Above all I knew I shouldn't turn my back.

I know the video is all about image and stage personae, and I am no stranger to squalor, but hell, if anyone who looked like that moved in next door, I would put my house on the market. Especially if they had a seven-year-old daughter named "Sixteen".

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, February 2011)

 

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