Listen: Songwriter finds herself in Afrikaans


When 21-year-old aspiring songwriter Elsje du Toit picked up her writing pen to pen an Afrikaans track, she did not expect that it would spark a brand new love for her mother tongue.

In July last year, Elsje attended a songwriting course by Deon Meiring and Jako Meyer, which was presented in collaboration with Skryfnet. The timing was perfect, as she decided shortly before the course to put her Afrikaans writing skills to the test.

She already started writing “Om myselfe te vind” during the course, and describes it today as a song that changed her outlook on her mother tongue and music.

Elsje has been writing since she was young, but confesses that her songs have always been in English.

“I started writing songs at the age of 11, it is one of my biggest passions. I have always written in English because it felt easier and more natural. Someone told me that I was doing myself a great injustice by not writing in Afrikaans,” says this native of Hermanus in RNews’s studio.

Elsje admits that her Afrikaans weakened during her student years and time as a young worker. As a scholar she often spoke Afrikaans, but as a young adult the language began to fade away in her life.

“It was sad for me, because I’m actually proud of my mother tongue,” she says.

“I felt frustrated in the course, precisely because I saw how much my Afrikaans had weakened. I kept wondering why I had such a hard time saying what I wanted to say. The course opened my eyes and rekindled the love for my mother tongue.

“Now I listen to an awful lot of Afrikaans music, watch Afrikaans films and read Afrikaans books. These are things I’ve never done before either.”

  • Listen above to a full audio interview with Elsje du Toit.

Listen here to Elsje’s very first Afrikaans track, “Om myself te vind”: