The novel was banned, as was Stanley Bekker en die Boikot Stanley Bekker and the Boycott, ,i hi h Miles uses the for at of a hildre s ook to tell the stor of ra ial dis ri i atio and school boycotts from the perspective of a coloured child in Johannesburg. Miles is best known for his documentary novel Kroniek uit die Doofpot Chronicle of a Cover-Up; translated as Deafening Silence, , published in in the interim period between apartheid and majority rule. This novel tells the story of the policeman Tumelo John Moleko, who is persecuted and finally killed by members of the police force because he insists on a fair hearing after being wronged by his superiors.
The novel is narrated by a writer who receives a shopping bag full of documents relating to Moleko s ase, i the sa e a that Joh Miles re ei ed a ag full of do u e ts relati g to the real case of sergeant Richard Motasi from journalist Hans Pienaar. Apart from the above-mentioned novelists, Afrikaans poets also registered their political resistance. The best example of a protest poet in Afrikaans is Breytenbach, who defied literary, so ial a d politi al o e tio s fro the ti e of his de ut i. His ost o ertl politi al volume of poetry, Skryt , was banned because of its references to the names of prisoners who died in detention and a poem directed at the erstwhile prime minister, John Vorster, whom it addressed as ut her.
Bre te a h as hi self a politi al priso er fro u til the e d of , during which time he wrote five volumes of poetry.
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They are marked by an intense degree of introspection, subtle reflections on the nature of poetry, sophisticated literary references and a densely textured play with words. Several Afrikaans poets reacted to Bre te a h s politi s a d i priso e t i their own poetry: while a number of poets, like George Weideman, Wopko Jensma, Julian de Wette and Ernst van Heerden sympathised with his plight, others like M. Walters, Lina Spies and Wessel Pretorius were critical of the merciless way in which he criticised Afrikaners and the Afrikaner government. Fanie Olivier also produced memorable political poetry during this period, like the poem on the death of Hector Pieterso , die ki d is ie dood ie the hild is ot dead , published in Verklarings Statements: , An important body of Afrikaans protest writing was the poetry written by black Afrikaans writers although most of these writers were coloured, they made the ideological choice to refer to the sel es as la k , there putti g their riti g i the politi al are a.
As Wille se argues, the mere fact that they wrote and published poetry from a position of racial oppression and exclusion as a for of resista e a d protest Aan die Ander Kant, p. These poets resisted exclusion by established publishers by making use of alternative publishers, like Taurus, and setting up their own publishing houses, like Prog and Domestica.
Others, like Peter Snyders and Marius Titus, expressed the experience of the working class in their poems and extended the range of poetic Afrikaans by using marginalised varieties in addition to standard Afrikaans, thus building on the practice of Adam Small in the s. Some of these poets used their poetry as vehicle for expressing private experience for example, Vincent Oliphant, Richard Geldenhuys, Julian de Wette , whereas others employed it in the struggle against apartheid.
In the preface to his debut volume Amandla Ngawethu , Patrick J. Peterse arti ulates his elief that poetr a e a i porta t eapo i the politi al struggle. Poetry in the Emergency. Although the output of Afrikaans theatre texts has always been small compared to that of the other genres, the general sense of rebellion and resistance during the years to was also refle ted i Afrikaa s riti g for the stage.
Pieter Fourie experienced his most productive phase in the s, with plays like Die Joiner The Joiner, , Ek, Anna van Wyk I, Anna van Wyk, and Die Koggelaar The Mimic, , in which he interrogates Afrikaner obsessions with loyalty, guilt, treason, patriarchal control and racial purity. His next play, Stille Nag Silent Night, , picks up on the political conflict in South Africa by setting two brothers on opposite ends of the political spectrum against each other.
In the above-mentioned play, a brother and sister settle their account with traditional Afrikaner values and ideologies by murdering their parents and eventually also the lawyer who is sent to investigate. They maintain a perverted household in which the role of the black woman, Alina, is a throwback to the portrayal of the trusted maid-ser a t i earl Afrikaa s hildre s ooks espe iall Al a Bou er s Stories van Rivierplaas Stories from River Farm, This body of texts became known - somewhat controversially - as grensliteratuur order literature.
A defi i g feature of these te ts as that the ere ritte by young men who were conscripted soldiers, either doing military service or fighting in the war. Their texts tended to be critical of the ideology underlying South African military action, to emphasise the inhumanity of the war and to subvert stereotypical views about heroism, valour and loyalty.
Koos Pri sloo s short stories a out the order ar i the olu es Jonkmanskas You g a s Wardro e, a d Die Hemel Help Ons Heaven Help Us, are characterised by a cool and emotionally detached style which contradicts its references to the trauma caused by ilitarisatio a d o at. Etienne van Heerden published a volume of short stories, My Kubaan My Cuban, , and a novella, Om te Awol To Awol, , in which he evoked the experience of the conscripted soldier who is forced to become part of the military a hi e of the state.
The stor M Cu a pai ts the pi ture of a ou g soldier rai ashed the army to see the enemy as the ultimate representation of the other animal-like, not white, son of a whore. He ostensibly tells his story to his Cuban prisoner, whom he keeps chained like a dog, but the ambiguous ending of the story reveals that in all likelihood there is no Cuban: the soldier- narrator is chained to a phantom image of his guilt and complicity in violence.
Who the Hell Told You? These literary texts with their anti-war and anti-apartheid sensibilities must be set apart from a small body of popular literature in Afrikaans novels, short stories and youth novels by writers like Adriaan Snyman, Maretha Maartens, Johan Coetzee and Pieter Pieterse about the border war, in which the political status quo is affirmed, war is romanticised and stereotypes about heroism, valour and loyalty are upheld.
The impact of the border war on serious Afrikaans literature is also visible in texts by writers who were not themselves part of the war, but explored war-related themes, like P. In the work of the writers selected for the purpose of this overview, the resistance against gender oppression often coincided with the resistance against racial oppression.
Antjie Krog made her poetic debut at the age of 17 with the volume Dogter van Jefta Daughter of Jephta in , but it was only from her fourth volume, Otters in Bronslaai Otters in Cress, , onwards that her work began to question patriarchal gender constructs. In this volume, she vividly expresses the frustration of the creative woman whose need to write comes into conflict with her role as wife, mother and housewife.
In her next two volumes, Jerusalemgangers Jerusalem Trekkers, and Lady Anne , her poetry becomes increasingly political in the sense that she interrogates both racial and gender oppression. The latter of the two volumes is conceived as a postmodern epic in which the poet wants to use the Scottish noblewoman, Lady Anne Barnard, who lived at the Cape as wife of the Colonial Secretary from to , as a guide or metaphor for her own life as white woman in South Africa in the s.
The volume is a collage of poems supplemented by citations, drawings, an ovulation chart, a property advertisement, an electoral poster and extracts from a diary, in which the power struggle between husband and wife, coloniser and colonised, white and black, the writer and her subject s , the social responsibility of the poet and the difficult relationship between politics and aesthetics are explored. Down to My Last Skin, a sele tio a d tra slatio of Krog s poe s herself a d others, was published in after Krog achieved international recognition for her seminal text on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Country of My Skull Although not an overtly political writer, her oeuvre is marked by an ironical gaze on all human enterprise that subtly undermines all systems of domination, whether based on gender, race or class.
Her novel Uitdraai Turn-off, questioned the ideology underlying the traditional farm novel in Afrikaans something also found in the work of male writers like Etienne van Heerden, Koos Prinsloo and Eben Venter. Her novel Die Kremetartekspedisie translated by J. Coetzee as The Expedition to the Baobab Tree, is narrated by a woman captured as a child by slave traders in Central Africa in the late fifteenth century and taken to a city on the East African coast to be sold as a slave. When her third owner dies, she accompanies his son and a wealthy merchant with whom she has fallen in love on a westward journey through Africa in search of a city of rose quartz.
Both thematically in its focus on a slave woman and stylistically through its lyricism, complex chronology, gaps and silences , the novel questions male-oriented representations of the past. The writer Jeanne Goosen also defies conventional narrative strategies in her novella, Louoond War i g O e ,. The epigraph of this ork reads: A other ook a o a. Listen friends, the world of the kitchen is forsaken by man and by God.
It is a condition of controlled h steria. The story is narrated from the conventionally female space of the kitchen, depicted as an anarchical, but intensely creative space, in which the narrator listens to her tapes of Maria Callas singing while she cooks and works on her manuscript, Kombuis Blues Kitchen Blues , stored in the warming drawer of her oven. At the same time she has difficulty in dealing with the questions posed by the political emergency which seems about to erupt into her kitchen.
She has heated discussions with her partner E. Her apparently guileless narrative reveals much about political tensions in the Afrikaner community, as well as the effect of forced removals of people of colour from certain neighbourhoods reserved for whites. Her mother bakes a cake for a coloured family who is forced to leave their neighbourhood in an attempt to relieve her feelings of guilt, and when they refuse her offering, she counters with the words: We re ot all like that p.
Apart from women whose writing addressed gender and racial politics, prominent writers like Sheila Cussons, Elisabeth Eybers, Anna M. By way of example, one can cite the work of poet Sheila Cussons, who made her debut in with the volume Plektrum Plectrum. An extraordinarily productive period followed after Cussons suffered a debilitating accident with an exploding gas stove in Most exemplary of her poetic style and thematic concerns is the volume Die Swart Kombuis The Black Kitchen, , in which she transforms her own experience with fire into poems that draw on Greek mythology as in the poe , Kombuis van Hera [ Hera s Kit he ] , as ell as Catholi sti is as i the poe Christ of the Bur t Me , hi h refers to the ork of Tho as Merto.
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Cusso s tra slated a sele tio of her poems into English under the title Poems in Afrikaa s o e s riti g i the s also i luded the highl su essful popular o els Dalene Matthee. A fourth forest o el, Toorbos Dream Forest , follo ed i. All of the forest o els deal ith the o flicts between the wealthy the merchants who exploit the forest, the whites who make the rules for society and the poor the lumbermen in the forest, people of colour , and all of the novels emphasise the importance of conserving the indigenous forest.
The main character in this semi-autobiographical novel is Griet, whose analyst suggests that she should start writing the story of her life after a failed suicide attempt. Griet is also the compiler of a collection of fairytales in Afrikaans, so that her narrative becomes a Scheherezade-like attempt to survive the psychological trauma of her failed marriage by telling stories in which the facts of her life are skilfully interwoven with the fiction of the fairytales. The novel represents another more popular a d ore a essi le fa e of the a i hi h Afrikaa s o e s riti g resisted the conventions patriarchy imposed on women, especially through its frank and humorous depiction of Griet s se ual e perie es.
Gay writing The emergence of gay writing was also part of the resistance against the domination of patriarchal values in South African society. Although one can name several precursors in the Afrikaans literary tradition, it was only in the s that the treatment of gay themes became more frank and open in Afrikaans writing.
Building on the work of short story writer Hennie Aucamp, younger male writers like Koos Prinsloo and Johann de Lange also influenced by international writers, such as David Leavitt, John Rechy, Thom Gunn and Edmund White, to name but a few as well as female writers like Welma Odendaal, Jeanne Goosen, Joan Hambidge and Emma Huismans became increasingly explicit and questioning in their work.
All these writers were political in the sense that they challenged the principles and values of the patriarchal, hetero sexist and racist society in which they lived. Koos Prinsloo, who died in of AIDS-related causes, left a small but powerful oeuvre consisting of four volumes of short stories in which he consistently attacked the abuse of power, be it by the militarised state, the police, the father or the literary establishment represented by the mentor and the publisher. His challenge to patriarchal society reaches a climax in the volumes Slagplaas Abattoir, and Weifeling Wavering, , in which he pushes the limits with his fictionalisation of auto biographical facts.
The work of Emma Huismans Berigte van Weerstand [Reports of Resistance, ] also places the lesbian experience in the midst of South African politi s i the s. These stories are deri ed fro the author s e perie e as a jour alist a d challenge the priorities of struggle politicians who give precedence to racial over gender oppression. The early s also saw the launch of the careers of poets Johann de Lange and Joan Hambidge, whose poetry embodies a wide variety of themes and techniques, but also introduced the first explicit representations of ga se ualit. I Ha idge s ork, e find the first explicit renderings of lesbian sex in Afrikaans for example, in Hartskrif [Heart Script, ] and Bitterlemoene [Bitter Oranges, ].
Repositionings after Whereas the period from to was characterised by resistance, the second phase, which starts in , sees Afrikaans literature repositioning itself in various ways with regard to the changing political and social landscape. As in , the political changes had an influence on the status of Afrikaans. It lost its privileged status as one of only two official languages in South Africa to become one of eleven official languages. Together with that, it also lost the state support that aided the growth of Afrikaans literature in the early years of Afrikaner nationalist reign.
For some writers, this loss of status signalled an opportunity for Afrikaans to free itself from the negative associations of the past. Other riters, Bre te a h a o gst the , i reasi gl a e to fear for the continued existence of the language and its higher functions in the public domain. The most prominent trends in the literature of this period are the revisiting of history, the emergence of new voices and the appearance of a body of texts representing dystopic views on post-apartheid South Africa. The return to the archive I hat a e des ri ed as a retur to the ar hi e , a ariet of Afrikaa s riters e gaged ith South African history in the light of events like the transition to democratic rule in , the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the centenary of the Anglo-Boer War from to In their engagement with various phases of South African history, these writers often focused on the injustices done to the indigenous peoples of the country by early colonisers.
This, in turn, led to a renewed interest in the history and culture of the San and Khoikhoi in Afrikaans literature. More recent South African and Afrikaner history also came into focus in these texts in an attempt to revise official historiography and to bring to light suppressed histories. Va Coller poi ts out that the tendency of some writers to dissect South African history with the aim of acknowledging the ro gs of the past a d heali g trau a as i the ase of Krog s a ou t of her e perie e as reporter on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Country of my Skull, contrasts with the practice of writers like Alba Bouwer, J.
Steyn and Engela van Rooyen, who in the same period rite ostalgi all a out a lost past Die Waarheidsko issie i die Afrikaa se Letterku de , p. Karel Schoeman, who is known as novelist and historian, published several novels after in which he explored nineteenth-century South African history. A quote from the German author Christa Wolf, in which she refers to the lifting of a sluice gate in front of a flood of formerly unheard voices, is used as epigraph for Die Uur van die Engel.
It sets the tone for the trilogy, which concentrates on the lives of ordinary people who often moved on the periphery of the societies they lived in. By way of example, one can refer to Verliesfontein, which tells the story of the Anglo Boer War from the perspective of several characters who played a argi al role i the e e ts. O e of these is the agistrate s lerk i the to Verliesfo tei i the Cape Colony that was occupied for a short while by Boer troops from the Free State. When he looks back on events in old age, he is filled with remorse because he did not help a coloured man who was tortured and executed by the Boer troops Schoeman bases this narrative on historical facts concerning Abraham Esau, who was executed in Calvinia during the Anglo Boer War in In its e phasis o the diffi ult of fi di g histori al truth a d retrie i g pai ful e e ts fro the past, the novel suggests parallels with the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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Central to the novel is the story of a revenge commando under the leadership of the immaculate General Mentz and his two henchmen, Niemannn and Vos. The commando attacks British troops to free Boer prisoners of war, and when the freed Boers do not want to return to the battlefield, they are executed together with the British. This novel raised a fair amount of controversy amongst readers and historians because of its free adaptation and fictionalisation of facts about the Anglo Boer War. In general, the interest generated by the celebration of the Anglo Boer War centenary from to , as well as the important place it occupies in Afrikaner historiography, led to a significant increase in the production of literary texts on the war, including a range of popular novels and short stories.
Afrikaans novels from this period which focus on Afrikaner history have the tendency to preser e a d disse t at the sa e ti e. Although Marle e a Niekerk s o el Triomf can be read on several levels, it can also be seen as a probing of certain moments in Afrikaner history. The novel evokes history through its focus on a family of poor white Afrikaners who live in the Joha es urg su ur Trio f Afrikaa s for triu ph , uilt o the rui s of the la k to ship Sophiatown demolished in the s to create a suburb for the white working class.
It is gradually re ealed that the old a Pop, his ife Mol a d their relati e Treppie are a tuall si li gs, hile the epileptic Lambert is their son it is not clear whether Pop or Treppie fathered him. Va Niekerk s se o d o el, Agaat ; international translation The Way of the Women, , can also be interpreted as a reading of certain aspects of Afrikaner history, even though it is open to various other i terpretatio s.
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The o el tells of the hite o a Milla s o ple relationship with the coloured woman Agaat, whom she took away from her parents when she was a young child. Even though the rural community of the s frowns on her actions, she raises Agaat as her own child. When Milla unexpectedly falls pregnant, she moves Agaat into a room outside the house and into the position of a maidservant rather than child in the house. Agaat eventually achieves a position of power over Milla when she is the one who nurses Milla through the final phases of motor- euro disease. After Milla s death, her so Jakkie akes o er the far to Agaat.
The novel meticulously records certain details of Afrikaner history and Afrikaner life, whether it concerns farming, cooking, embroidery, gardening, religion or the structuring of relations with people of colour. As such, it highlights the archival impulse in which the specifics of Afrikaner history are preserved but at the same time subjected to critical scrutiny.
Etienne van Heerden also uses magic realism in Die Swye van Mario Salviati ; The Long Silence of Mario Salviati, to telescope two hundred years of history underlying the post-apartheid transformations, tensions and conflicts in the town Tallejare. The attempt to examine Afrikaner history is not limited to the novel: playwright Deon Opperman s lengthy play Donkerland Dark Land, dramatises the lives of six generations of the rather o iousl a ed De Witt fa il it ei g the Afrikaa s for hite i te episodes that fo us o key moments in Afrikaner history.
The play starts with the first De Witt measuring out his farm in Natal in the nineteenth century and ends with his descendant having to surrender the farm to the original inhabitants of the land. Revisiting the history and cultures of the San and Khoi peoples became a general trend in South African literature and academic studies in the s. The Namibian writer P. Questions have, however, been raised about the issue whether the reworking of material from San, Khoi and Griqua culture by both English and Afrikaans writers like Stephen Watson, Hans du Plessis, Thomas Deacon and Antjie Krog might constitute an unacceptable form of appropriation of indigenous cultural goods.
New voices The introduction of a range of new voices to Afrikaans literature after was partly the result of new strategies by Afrikaans publishers. The publishing house Kwela was set up by the media company Nasionale Pers in with the brief to focus on the development of new writers and to give voice to those South Africans who hitherto had not had the opportunity to make themselves heard.
Together with the independent publisher Queillerie, Kwela was successful in developing the work of first-time writers like Abraham Phillips, A. Scholtz, E. Dido, Kirby van der Merwe and S. Benjamin in the s; others, like Elias Nel, published with mainstream publisher Tafelberg. Whereas the black Afrikaans writers of the period to were mostly poets, these writers were mainly novelists.
Scholtz achieved great success with his novel Vatmaar ; A Place Called Vatmaar, , published when the author was seventy-two years old. Scholtz first wrote the novel in English, because he did not have the confidence to publish in his mother tongue, Afrikaans. The novel tells how two of the founding members of the Vatmaar- settlement, Uncle Chai and Corporal Lewis, got permission to settle in a spot close to the mining town Dutoitspan in return for services rendered to the British government during the Anglo Boer War.
It makes use of a variety of narrating voices to tell the story of this hybrid community in which a wide variety of ethnic groups coexist, in a way which the author clearly sees as a model for South Afri a so iet. He states i a prefa e addressed to the reader: I a goi g to tell a stor of the coloured people of South Africa. They did not come from the North and also not from overseas.
Dido is the first black Afrikaans woman to establish herself as a successful novelist. Her following novels often have a didactic slant and address a variety of social issues, including alcoholism, family violence, racial conflict between black and coloured, post-traumatic stress, crime and homelessness. Despite the introduction of the above-mentioned writers into the Afrikaans canon, the participation of black Afrikaans writers in the Afrikaans literary system still remains at a low level.
In earlier Afrikaans literature, dystopian novels imagined a future after a bloody revolution in which Afrikaners lost their political and economic power. E e Ve ter s o el Horrelpoot Club Foot ; English version Trencherman, is perhaps the strongest example of a d stopia o el i Afrikaa s literature after. The o el s ai hara ter is Marlou , ho lives in Australia and is asked by his sister to go and find her son Koert in South Africa the names deri e fro the i terte tual refere es to Joseph Co rad s Heart of Darkness.
On his return to South Africa, Marlouw finds a country in decline: poverty is rampant, there are food shortages, AIDS has reached epidemic proportions, public services have ground to a halt, roads are in disrepair, corruption and opportunistic looting have become rife. When Marlouw finds Koert on the family farm signed over to the black farm labourers when Marlouw and his sister left for Australia years before , he has degenerated from powerful kingpin in a meat empire to a grotesquely disabled figure, incapacitated by his obesity and a gangrenous leg.
After a climax in which Koert is killed during a carnivalesque party, the novel ends with a vision of the farm as it might be after all human occupation ceased: animals returning and the veld gradually healing itself. Afrikaans writing after has also seen a number of texts which reflect critically on current, rather than future or imagined scenarios.
This trend manifests itself in a variety of genres in Afrikaans, ranging from novels to autobiographical fiction, short stories and poetry. The influence of J. Coetzee s o el Disgrace is unmistakable in some of these texts. The main character in Bri k s ovel Donkermaan Dark Moo ; tra slated the author ith a title take fro Coetzee s novel, namely The Rights of Desire, is Ruben Kruger, a librarian who is forced to retire to make place for a black man. He indirectly experiences the effects of violent crime when his neighbour is murdered and through the stories of his coloured housekeeper.
The ai hara ter i Va Heerde s o el is Christian Lemmer, whose travels as the owner of an internet company dealing in African art, bring him into contact with the social ills of South Africa as well as the larger global community: gangsterism, crime syndicates, drug dealing and trafficking in hu a s. Whereas Au a p s auto iographi al writing gives a ur a perspe ti e, A raha H.
In Afrikaans poetry, the dystopic trend manifests itself in isolated poems in volumes by poets like Breytenbach, Krog, Barend Toerien and Louis Esterhuizen, rather than as the main theme of volumes. The anthology Nuwe Verset New Resistance, also gathers a collection of poems on this theme. In conclusion, one must concede that an overview such as this is a homogenising construct imposed on a body of literature which has increasingly come to reflect the heterogeneity of the Afrikaans-speaking community in South Africa.
Bibliography Adams, N. Adams, W. Koza and P. Petersen eds. Optog, Grassy Park: Domestica, Aucamp, H. Allersiele, Cape Town: Tafelberg, Gekaapte Tyd, Cape Town: Tafelberg, In die Vroegte, Cape Town: Tafelberg, Botha, J. Bouwer, A. Breytenbach, B. Lewendood, Emmarentia: Taurus, Skryt, Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, Philip K. Dick Award Finalist. James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
Mark's additional best English language novels of the XX century. I Migliori Libri del ' M-Net Book Prize. Herman Gorterprijs. Eugene Maraisprys. Winifred Holtby-prys. Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. Olive Schreiner Prize Prose. Hertzog Prize for Drama. Louis Luyt-prys. Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Betty Trask Award. Booker Prize Shortlist. Berkeley Summer Reading.
Reading the world in books. The White Ravens. From Zero to Well-Read in Books. Prix Femina. The Modern Library: the best novels in English since Nobel Prize. Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Related series Teseo. Theseus Myth. Related publisher series King Penguin. Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century. Penguin Ink. Otavan kirjasto. I grandi classici della letteratura straniera Fabbri. Rainbow Pocketboeken. Aikamme kertojia. Biblioteca del viajero. Volk und Welt Spektrum. Virago Modern Classics. Debolsillo - Biblioteca J. Humo's klassiekers van nu. LR, Vintage Books.
Grote ABC. Nelson Mandela. Marnus Erasmus. Lambert Benade. Kaatjie Danster. Abel en Ella, zijn vrouw. Kens Tillie, hun dochter, moeder van Druppeltje. Nicolaas van der Merwe. Barend van der Merwe. Hester van der Merwe. StamAbel en ouma Magtilt. Ellen Winter. Eugene Marais. Mol Benade. Pop Benade. Patrick Winter. OuAbel en ouma Olivier. Waterwyzer du Pisani, vader Druppeltje. Treppie Benade. Terry Mehring.
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