Bernoldus Niemand

Phillips alto ego, Bernoldus Niemand, made his debut in 1984, and in 1985 he released the critically acclaimed “Wie is Bernoldus Niemand?” album. Targeting the monolithic Afrikaner “cultural establishment” the album was promptly banned by the SABC, although the song “Hou my vas Korporaal” would become an anthem for the anti conscription movement.

In its time it was utterly new, inspiring “alternative Afrikaner” performers like Johannes Kerkorrel and Koos Kombuis who would spearhead the Voëlvry boerepunk movement some years later. James in fact was invited to join the Voëlvry bandwagon for a successful, if controversial, tour of the country in 1989 which featured musicians who sang in Afrikaans and had been inspired by the Bernoldus Niemand album. Phillips and an expanded Lurchers line-up were added to the Voëlvry bill under the name “Bernoldus Niemand en die Swart Gevaar”.

Phillips had always regarded the Niemand alter-ego as a side project and had already abandoned the songs on the “Wie is Bernoldus Niemand?” album. Ironically he was now performing to the biggest audience of his career, but under another name and singing songs that he no longer considered part of his repertoire.

Hou My Vas Korporaal / My Broken Heart [1983]

Die Boksburg Bommer / Jody [1984]

This song was written before Gerrie Coetzee's defense of the WBA boxing championship. Bernoldus went along to the weigh-in and gave Gerrie the single hoping he'd play it before the match. He didn't and was consequently knocked out.

The night the Boksburg Bomber struck:

Coetzee’s reign as WBA champion was short. Amid more controversy, he lost to Greg Page in his first defense on December 1, 1984, at Sun City.

Ticket prices for the fight were at an all-time high for South Africa – a minimum of R100, and R450 for ringside seats.

Page, rated No 6 by the WBA, arrived in Johannesburg eight days earlier than scheduled to prevent efforts by the US anti-apartheid lobby to block his visit.

Coetzee was the overwhelming favourite. Most critics predicted a win inside the distance and Coetzee was the betting favourite at 10 to 1.

However, the champion was knocked out in a sensational finish in the eighth round.

A major row erupted over the duration of the last round. The pay-off punches from Page came at a time when his manager, Janks Morton, was shouting to the time-keeper that the round was over.

Coetzee had been down for the first time after the bell in the sixth round when Page caught him with a right that saw him sink to his knees.

In the seventh round, a barrage of punches put the South African down for the mandatory eight count.

Towards the end of the eighth, Coetzee was beginning to outbox the challenger. Then Page landed a left hook to the jaw that left Coetzee flat on his back – 3 minutes 50 seconds after the start of the round.

The Coetzee camp claimed that the knockout was illegal and appealed to the WBA to have the result nullified. However, the appeal was turned down.

Despite the controversy, Page was a worthy winner.

Wie is Bernoldus Niemand? [1985]

01. Hou My Vas Korporaal 2:47

02. Welcome To My Car 3:58
03. Marie Ferrari 3:34
04. Die Boksburg Bommer 3:01
05. Snor City 4:28

01. East Rand Blues 3:00

02. My Broken Heart 2:09
03. Visse 2:46
04. Tribute To Jody 3:21
05. Reggae Vibes Is Cool 6:36

* Cassette Version released with title "Hou My Vas Korporaal"

Vocals - Bernoldus Niemand & the Shifty choir
Guitars - Lloyd Ross, James Phillips & Bernoldus
Bass - Lloyd Ross
Keyboards - James Phillips, Lloyd Ross
Drums - DMX, Ian Herman, Warrick Sony
Percussion - Dan Chiorboli
Horns - Rick van Heerden (alto solos), Hanepoot van Tonder (trombone), Fritz van Vereeniging (alto), Warrick Sony (trombone on "East Rand Blues"
Cover illustration - Mzwakhe Nhlabatsi
Graphic design & inner sleeve - The Graphic Equalizer
Engineer & Producer - Lloyd Ross
Inspiration - South Africa and its people
Special thanks to Ivan Kadey for his endless patience

All songs by Bernoldus Niemand except "Welcome to my car" by Jonathan Handley.


Baie min informasie oor Suid-Afrika se nuwe fenomeen, Bernoldus Niemand, is opdie oomblik beskikbaar. Verskeie verslae het in die pers al verskyn maar hulle het nie baie oor Niemand die man gesê nie.

Bernoldus is 'n baie moelike ou om in die hande te kry, en om 'n gesprek te organiseer is heeltemal ontmoontlik. Nietemin het ons sy suster Marie Niemand (16) opgespoor, en sy het die volgende gesê oor haar gehiemsinnige broer...

"I really don't know why Bernoldus still stays in Springs, he says it gives him persperation or something. He always looked after me 'specially when I was little. Every Sunday evening he used to take me to Derde Straat where the ou's park their tjors and bikes after spending the whole day cleaning them. I used to earn bucks polishing hupcaps and things so's I could buy Texans for 'Noldus. Then when I was older he used to tell Ma and Pa that he was taking me to make coffee at band practice, but he would let me go to the disco with Cheryl and Suzette instead. He was always my hero. All my school chommies loved him, but sometimes he used to go all quiet you know, like he had a mood. He used to call it a 'dinkbreek', then he'd go and write one of his chune's.

I skeem sometimes, you know, that he's going to be a big star and live in Hollywood or Sandton and the only time we'll see him is when we go to the CNA and see his poster on the wall."

Koop hierdie album en ons is seker jy sal saam met Marie stem.