‘Mandela is a k****r’ singer says, ‘I’m not racist’

Shane ‘Sies Jou Vark’ first came to our attention through the song ‘Dis Lekker om Wit te Wees’, with lyrics implying black people can’t read, stink, and behave badly.

We almost couldn’t believe it, at The Citizen’s digital news desk this Friday, when one of the team drew our attention to what we thought may have been a song with the most racist lyrics of all time.

The song, Dis Lekker om Wit te Wees, unfavourably compares black people to white people. It includes Afrikaans lyrics which translate as “It’s nice to be white / To be able to read and write”. Other reasons its author Shane McCallaghan, better known as Shane “Sies Jou Vark”, prefers to be white, include that his whiteness allows him to “know how to use a toilet” and avoid “smelling like a shebeen”. The full lyrics, in the original Afrikaans as well as an English translation, are available at the end of this article.

When we spoke to Shane, he told us the song is not meant to be racist. A Google search after our interview, however, revealed that his other songs include one titled Mandela is a k*****. This made his denials of racism hard to believe.

The song came to our attention when it was posted in a closed Facebook group where “bad” music videos or songs are shared jokingly. The post – a link to a video which was posted on YouTube in 2016 – was later deleted after the lyrics of the song caused outrage.

But the Afrikaans singer and comedian, who says he did not upload the video to YouTube himself – feels those who may accuse the song of racism are misunderstanding it.

“The song is five years old, and it is not meant to be racist. It was written to make people laugh, and was intended to be a funny party song. People can make what they want of the song, but I know it is not meant to be a racist song,” McCallaghan told The Citizen.

READ MORE: Steve Hofmeyr sings ‘Die Stem’ to Australian fans (video)

McCallaghan then made reference to a part of the song in which he sings that his brother managed to get a job in London, but told him it’s worse over there than in South Africa. According to the singer, the song is “also meant to say that being white doesn’t mean you should run away to another country, like London”.

McCallaghan tried to highlight that some of his other songs feature “beautiful, philosophical lyrics”, and that ones like Dis Lekker om Wit te Wees are only to boost CD sales and make him money.

He noted that “even De La Rey fans” didn’t like the song, but said it was a “matter of perception”. He argued that the song was a satirical comment on white people’s racial beliefs, which was intended to be lighthearted.

The comments on YouTube, however, indicate that almost everyone who has heard the song does not understand Shane’s alleged satirical intentions.

Very many of the comments, almost all in Afrikaans, expressed disgust at the lyrics. Others, however, showed their support for it, with some using inappropriate language.

WARNING: The screenshot below includes offensive language. 

Picture: Screenshot.

After our conversation, we discovered that there had been a furore over another of Shane’s songs, Mandela is a k*****, way back in 2001.

We called Shane again.

“The song was written in 2001 and was a drunken party song I made up on the spot. Someone happened to record me singing it and it ended up online without my consent,” he said.

He also suggested that he believed some people may have a vendetta against him due to this earlier song, leading to people reacting to the lyrics of Dis Lekker Om Wit Te Wees.

Shane asked us to hold on the story until he could talk to his lawyer, a request we declined as we have no legal duty to do so.

Dis lekker om wit te wees (It’s nice to be white)                  

Dis lekker om wit te wees  (It’s nice to be white)

Om te kan skryf en ‘n book te lees  (To be able to read and write)

 

Om in die rowwe see te kan swem  (To be able to swim in rough seas)

En ‘n taal soos Afrikaans te ken  (And to know a language like Afrikaans)

 

Dis lekker om skoon te ruik  (It’s nice to smell good)

En om te weet hoe om ‘n toilet to gebruik  (And to know how to use a toilet)

En so nou en dan ‘n bad te kan vat  (And to be able to bath every now and then)

Met skoon klere aan my gat  (With clean clothes on my butt)

 

Ek se jou lekker, lekker, lekker man  (I said it’s nice, nice, nice man)

Ja dis baie lekker man  (Yes it’s very nice man)

Lekker om wit te wees  (Nice to be white)

(x2)

 

Om wit te wees is kwaai vir my  (Being white is cool for me)

In London het my broer ‘n job gekry  (My brother got a job in London)

Al kry ons almal hierso lekker swaar  (Even though we’re all suffering here)

My broer se Shane dis nog kakker daar   (My brother said it’s shittier there)

 

Lekker, lekker, lekker man  (Nice, nice, nice man)

Ja dis baie lekker man  (Yes it’s very nice man)

Lekker om wit te wees  (Nice to be white)

 

Dis lekker om a dop te kan drink  (It’s nice to go for a drink)

En nooit soos ‘n shebeen te stink  (And to never smell like a shebeen)

En te weet hoe om myself te gedrae  (And to know how to behave)

Sonder dat iemand my vra  (Without someone asking me to)

 

My baas was maar lekker dom  (My boss was pretty dumb)

Skool gegaan met a botteltjie gom  (Went to school with a bottle of glue)

Sy sertifikate gekoop  (Bought his certificates)

Om bo oor my te loop  (To walk all over me)

 

Ek se jou lekker, lekker, lekker man  (I said it’s nice, nice, nice man)

Ja dis baie lekker man  (Yes it’s very nice man)

Lekker om wit te wees  (Nice to be white)

(x2)

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