Reporters on the Job
• Gone CD Shopping: Like most English-speakers, staff writer Scott Baldauf heard about the new megahit Afrikaans song "De la Rey" (see story) by reading South African newspapers. He decided to pop down to the local music shop to find out what the fuss was about.
"What started out as a simple shopping trip turned into a Monty Python-like quest for the Holy Grail," he says.
"In the first shop, it was sold out. So I drove toward Randburg, a section of Johannesburg that a South African friend jokingly describes as 'behind the Boerewors Curtain.' A boerewors is a famous Afrikaner sausage, so I expected Randburg to be full of white Afrikaners, with Afrikaans music blaring from shop windows. Wrong. Randburg had turned into a black middle-class neighborhood after the fall of apartheid," says Scott.
In a Randburg mall, he asked the shop clerk, who is black, if he had the CD. It was sold out there too, "but the clerk told me, 'That's a good tune, man.'
"Finally, at a third mall where the sign for underground parking was spelled 'onderdakparkering,' I found the CD. But the search was useful, because I got good interviews at each store, and a better sense of what the Afrikaans language music scene is all about. If I had found the CD in the first shop, I wouldn't have learned as much."
David Clark Scott