Singles & EPs

Fridays & Saturdays [1979]

01. In the Night 2:19
02. Brain Damage 2:23

01. Johnny’s Conscience 4:17
02. Rock and Rolls Royce 2:59

Tracks appear on “The Voice of Nooit” Cassette release.

Six Of The Best [1979] Promotional Single

01. Victim’s Victim – Corporal Punishment 3:25
02. Inside I’m Cryin’ – Bill Flynn 2:34

01. I Don’t Want Your Guillotine – Roger Lucey 2:38
02. So Messed Up – Wild Youth 2:04

Tracks appear on “Six Of The Best” Compilation.

Hou My Vas Korporaal / My Broken Heart [1983]

On 6 December 1983, a very strange single appeared in South Africa. Featuring a kind of action comic cartoon picture of a mean-looking korporaal on the cover with a pop art caption telling you the name of the song. The picture sleeve actually gave no indication of who the artist was, one had to take the single out to see that it was by Bernoldus Niemand.

But who was this mysterious Benoldus Niemand? Well, the clue to who knew who he was was in his surname. Nobody. Nobody knew about this strange dude. And things got stranger when you put the track on as it starts with a very heavily accented dude asking, ‘Excuse me, are you recording?’ in an almost apologetic voice. But what follows would have rung bells with many young white South African men who had done their time in the army. This Niemand dude captured the feeling many had of being lost in this strange world of being ordered around and having to play soldiers when they had hardly learned to shave.

But was this sort of thing allowed? Was Niemand allowed to expose the fear and trepidation that those young men faced? Surely he should have been singing about what a great thing they were doing protecting their loved ones back home. He should have been encouraging, not…not…telling the truth!

But there was something stirring here in this simple song which doesn’t feature the most complicated tune, or the best vocal performance by a long mile. History has shown this to be one of the most important records made by a white South African. We would later find out that Bernoldus Niemand was James Phillips and we would see more of him in bands such as Illegal Gathering, The Cherry Faced Lurchers as well as a solo artist. But this was arguably the seed for the whole Voelvry movement that revolutionised Afrikaans music and politicised the country’s Afrikaans youth.

It is sometimes hard to believe that this song, which also sounds like a thrown-away track, played by a slightly intoxicated busker and a cat’s choir, would have such an impact. But that was the genius of James Phillips. He gave us a simple choon with words that tapped into the core of every troopie’s vulnerabilities. It was a kind of wooden horse of Troy, with a biting, fighting spirit hidden inside an innocuously looking package. Even the cartoon cover seems to give it a sense of the non-real, yet it was more real than anything that had gone before in our country. Phillips would re-record the track when a member of Illegal Gathering, and it’s worth having a listen to that version which is even more stripped down (just voice and guitar), but one always hou’s vas to the original Niemand version as in a strange way it gives us the comfort that the singer is searching for in the song.

SOURCE: 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf


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.