Klyntji is an independent online journal, of diverse and progressive arts and culture, published in Afrikaans
Afrikaans and its speakers are very diverse, so much so that it's impossible to ascribe it to a single culture only. Millions of people speak the language, understood by millions more, spread across a broad demographic of race, region and creed.
The language started out as a resistance against colonialist and imperialist powers, seeking to distinguish itself from its European heritage. Its disenfranchised African and Eastern speakers mixed in various linguistic elements, partly through which a new language of the people originated on African soil. It was looked down upon as inferior, and referred to as Kitchen Dutch, a kombuistaal.
It’s no secret that Afrikaans, one of the youngest languages in existence, doesn't have the best of reputations. Around 75 years ago the language was utilised for nationalist political gain, which would later lead to its use as a weapon of the apartheid government for exclusion and oppression. There are instances where this is still the case, making bigoted speakers of the language its own worst enemy.
Relatively soon after this creole language came to be, efforts to standardise and formalise the language were undertaken. In 1896 the very first Afrikaans magazine, Ons Klyntji, was established. It aimed to foster a literary culture and to shape Afrikaner identity. It was published monthly for about ten years. Its name, spelt in an early form of Afrikaans, translates to “our little one”.
After a previous attempt to bring it back to life, it resurfaced in the 1990’s as an anti-apartheid protest zine, with Koos Kombuis as editor, shortly following the Voëlvry movement. Its oppositional nature remained intact, albeit much more progressive in its approach. The humorous and light-hearted zine lobbied for equal rights across different races, genders and sexual orientations.
It would continue into an erratic pocket-sized zine, which in recent years has appeared annually. It includes poems, short stories, illustrations, interviews and reviews on a variety of topics in English, Afrikaans and other South African and foreign languages.
The online journal
Klyntji.com, as a descendent of the original Ons Klyntji, launched in 2014. The online and printed publications are run separately, yet brought together by interrelated projects and content.
The online journal engages with current day topics related to cultural identity. Speakers of Afrikaans find themselves in a changing South African landscape. What it means to be Afrikaans, taking into account its array of subcultures, identities and linguistic forms, is frequently discussed and debated. Klyntji is continuously informed by research on race, language, gender, sexuality and how it's conveyed aesthetically by contemporary arts and culture across the globe.
Freedom, dignity and equality are hampered by a range of factors. Life in the anthropocene, with capitalism as driving force, is causing irreparable environmental damage and rising inequality. Technology and the internet have also changed the way how we live, presenting new challenges together with new opportunities.
The publication uses Afrikaans as a language amongst languages, to transcend cultural boundaries through the telling of alternative narratives – challenging and resisting racism, patriarchy and toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia, body shaming, sexism and gender-based violence, restrictive gender norms and harmful dogma. We do this by promoting diverse art, music, literature, design, performance and culture in broad that progress towards a more equal, accepting and inclusive Global South.
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