Opinion piece: The art of kuier

By Michael Calhoun

The Afrikaans culture is great! That was my first thought when I first visited South Africa 25 years ago. Growing up in America, watching my parents and grandparents kuier [Editor: an Afrikaans word that loosely translates to “pay a visit”, but also denotes a friendly, homely occasion] it was wonderful to see how family and friends connected socially – looking at each other and chatting with genuine interest, sharing good times over shared culture. I was impressed with Afrikaners because they connected socially like my family did when I was young. Americans of today have lost this “art of kuier”. Over the last 25 years – during which I visited South Africa annually and even lived there for seven years – it’s been wonderful to immerse myself in the Afrikaans culture and language. Sadly, I see Afrikaners losing the “art of kuier”.

Even just several years ago when I was living in South Africa, if I popped over to kuier with a friend or neighbor, they would stop what they were doing and put on the kettle. I was so impressed with the social connection Afrikaners still had with each other when so many other folks have lost it. I thought to myself: How great it is that people still take the time to kuier in this day and age. Memories of time spent with my WWII era grandparents popped into my head.

Over the last handful of years, I have seen Afrikaners kuier less and less with each other. My last visit to South Africa was in September 2022. I was bothered by what I saw socially with the Afrikaner people. My Afrikaner friends agreed with me that people kuier less these days. I decided to ask people what they thought were the reasons why Afrikaners were kuiering less. I spoke with over twenty groups of Afrikaners (I only have Afrikaans friends). I received several answers and most made sense to me. Some people mentioned crime as a factor, since they didn’t want to return home at night. Others mentioned the cost of kuiering (e.g., food, drink and fuel). Some said Covid, but I dismissed that because I clearly saw the “art of kuier” slowly fade well before Covid began. A good reason was technology, since people get their social connection via technology and no longer have to meet up in person. Technology distracts people from feeling the need to connect with others. The best answer that I received and the one I feel is the reason, is people just don’t take the time for each other. I saw it happen with Americans and I sadly see it happening now with Afrikaners.

A few decades ago, in the United States we use to know how to kuier, but this is now extremely difficult to find amongst Americans of European descent who populated America from its beginning. You can mostly find the “art of kuier” in immigrant communities around America because they want to identify as something and socially connect. They hold onto their culture and proudly show it through language, food, music and making the effort to celebrate it with each other through social cohesion. They realize the importance and strength that come from kuiering together. Ernst Roets said:  “If we (Afrikaners) want to have a future as a minority community in this country we have to look after ourselves.” I am writing this to express how important it is to kuier with each other and how it will affect the survival of Afrikaners. I see the breakdown of America and one major reason is the lack of kuier within American culture. I hope and pray it does not happen to the Afrikaner nation.

How are you going to look after each other, help and support each other, if you don’t kuier with each other to know what is going on with family, friends and the community? How can you look after your community if you don’t know your Afrikaner brethren? Take the time to connect and support each other; if not, you won’t know each other, especially if one is in need – and the one in need may just be you. With the way the world is heading, especially South Africa, we need to know each other, while supporting and enjoying each other. As we all know, a house divided will fall.

Technology increases all the time so one would think there would be more kuiering because we know what’s going on in the community. Unfortunately, there seems to be less kuiering even though communication is easier and at our fingertips. People struggle to even answer voicemails and text messages these days. Some of you might not even know about this way of life – how people use to kuier – because of your environment, age, or upbringing. Ask someone who is a bit older and learn about it.

Make the effort to kuier with each other! Tell friends to make the effort to regularly kuier. Hold each other accountable to kuier from time to time.

People who have a sense of community live longer, more fulfilling lives. Sadly, I see the great Afrikaner nation slowly fading away in different ways. Some attacks are from the South African government on the Afrikaans language, black economic empowerment and a struggling South Africa that forces many people to emigrate overseas. Afrikaners will need to depend on each other more often in the future as the country struggles to provide basic necessities. America and Europe are already on the fast track to losing its cultural identity. I hope and pray that Afrikaners will change course. A folk is never going to be strong, if they don’t commune with each other. It’s like working out: a culture will grow strong if it is exercised.

Most of all it saddens me to see Afrikaners change and embrace individualism, focusing more on themselves over what is good for the Afrikaner people. I saw this happen in America; it’s destructive. If you all work as individuals you will all fail; but if you all work together, you will all be successful. The Afrikaner people, as unique as you are, do have different aspects of the culture stemming in different areas of the country. You are not homogenous and there is no need to be the same; just come together with your expression of culture and kuier! Afrikaans is Groot, RSG and KykNET are great on the macro level, but the micro or local level is where action starts, and work is done to reach goals. AfriForum does tremendous work to get Afrikaners to come together at the local level and make improvements in the country; they need to be supported in every way.

Without tradition or culture you have no future – share it, celebrate it, kuier! Maybe it’s as simple as expressing authentic Afrikaner hospitality by inviting someone over for tea and beskuit [Editor: rusks], maybe it’s sokkie [Editor: a dance unique to South Africa] or everyone’s favorite, braai. Afrikaners make up a very unique folk globally. You all have been self-supporting over the centuries and growing!

Individualism and materialism distract us from where we came from and where we are going as a people. Wake up! Look around!

Unfortunately, today it looks like so called multiculturalism is to break down other dominant and strong cultures to make a Culture X, a no-name culture, a watered-down, unidentifiable cultural. I see the passive attacks in America on simple cultural expressions like apple pie and baseball, or flying the American flag at home. Some say it’s too American and must go. Do not be afraid to identify as an Afrikaner; you are still a South African. Why? Because Afrikaners are very uniquely identifiable on the global stage and important to the world. In America we have Italian-Americans, German-Americans, Mexican-Americans and more. They are not uniquely identifiable. Clearly being identifiable Afrikaners, this expression will show unity and strength while giving hope to other Afrikaners. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. If you don’t stand up together as Afrikaners, supporting each other, celebrating who you are though your culture and customs, you will fade away into the abyss of the unidentifiable global community and just be another no-name folk, drowning in the so-called global multiculturalism being promoted today. No one can destroy the Afrikaner except Afrikaners; no tribe, court or war, nothing but yourselves. Afrikaners are a small folk, be careful because you may blink, and your folk is gone.

I’m very bothered with the West and the United States government for not protecting and supporting Afrikaners more – especially after all that the Afrikaners did to fight as a proxy in the Border War to further the foreign policy of America and the West. America has different social programs in South Africa, like the Advancing Rights in Southern Africa program, costing $12.5 million. Sadly, this program and many others I see are helping only a select few. This being said, as Afrikaners you are unfortunately on your own. I must say that there are many Americans who support and are very sympathetic towards Afrikaners.

As an American, a foreigner, I write this to encourage you to kuier more and keep the Afrikaans culture and the Afrikaner folk strong. I’m not being patronizing, but after seeing these issues affect America, I’m only wishing to help to remind you so Afrikaners may thrive. GO KUIER!

In full support of Afrikaners

Michael Calhoun


Meer oor die outeur

Michael Calhoun is in Suid-Kalifornië gebore en getoë. Hy het Suid-Afrika oor die afgelope 25 jaar volgens roetine besoek, en vir verskeie jare in dié tydperk hier gewoon, gewerk en gestudeer. Hy skryf vir maatskappy met én sonder winsoogmerk, asook vir die VSA se ambassade. Internasionale politiek, Afrikasake, reis en sy Christelike geloof is ’n paar van sy passies. Hy is steeds betrokke by Afrikanergroepe in sowel Suid-Afrika as in die VSA.

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Hierdie plasing is deur ’n onafhanklike persoon saamgestel. Die menings en standpunte wat in hierdie skrywe uitgespreek word, strook nie noodwendig met die beleid of standpunte van AfriForum Wêreldwyd nie.

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