Is Die Antwoord officially scheduled to break up in September 2017? Ninja, the trio’s designated leader and progenitor of “Zef life,” seemingly confirmed the planned split on September 9 in an interview with Exclaim!
The South African rap/rave group, made up of boisterous leader Ninja, Yolandi Visser, and their DJ simply named God, has been changing the rap game since their debut in 2008. Ninja offered no lengthy explanation for what has been interpreted as their September 2017 break-up other than, “Die Antwoord dies on that day. It’s all over. I feel beautiful about it. I’m not scared of the end. I’m a Ninja. I’m not scared of death.”
Die Antwoord has never limited themselves to simply being a music entity. Throughout their career Die Antwoord has always been an artistic force encompassing music, film, and performance. Ninja and Yolandi have even had crossover success in films such as Chappie directed by Neil Blomkamp.
Ninja explained that September 2017 would be the release date for Die Antwoord’s final album. The as-of-yet untitled album will be the band’s fifth full-length release. Since their first album, 2009’s $O$, Die Antwoord has self-released all of their records on the band’s label, Zef.
Considering Die Antwoord’s artistic bent, the group will end their existence with a huge art show at MOCAA, Museum of Contemporary Modern Art Africa, in Capetown, South Africa. Not much is known about the corresponding art exhibit at this time, but it will be accompanied by a movie, South African Ninja, which Die Antwoord has been creating for the last 10 years.
Ninja explained the film to Exclaim!, stating, “That’s been our well that we’ve been drinking from and drawing from since the beginning of Die Antwoord. We actually started writing it before Die Antwoord. So, it’s been in the background for all of our ideas, which have all come from this film.”
The movie is supposed to be loosely based around the origin of Die Antwoord while integrating the group’s well-known pseudo-surrealist style. Ninja continued, “It’s a South African gangster film that has African ninjas in it. Everything in the film is fictitious, like a regular movie, but it’s hard and raw, and everything has some parallel to our lives, so it’s got a surreal connection to everything.”
Die Antwoord has carved out their special niche in music with their bombastic style and the shocking visuals they use in their albums and music videos. Rappers Ninja and Yolandi are usually at the epicenter of the artistic performance. The pair have made themselves living art with their onstage personas as well as the characters they play on film, in their music videos, and during the skits on Die Antwoord’s albums.
Ninja remained vague about the anticipated art exhibition, but he did give an idea of what Die Antwoord wanted to accomplish with the show. “The art exhibition asked us to do it ourselves, and feature Roger Ballen in it, and we said that we didn’t want to do that,” Ninja explained. “We want Roger Ballen to present us, ‘cos of all the influences we have, he’s pretty much hands-down number one. He’s the one who spawned us. We are literally like his disciples, his visual disciples. We make music, he does visuals. We’re his children. He’s like our art master. He took the first ever photograph of us. That’s why when I said we want to show a retrospect of our life’s work, it has to be presented by him. We told the gallery, otherwise we won’t do it.”
However, although Ninja seemingly announced the band’s 2017 break-up, the same day Yolandi took to Instagram to deny the claim. She said that Ninja and Die Antwoord’s statements were misconstrued by the interviewing journalist, Daryl Keating, and that the band had no plans to disband by 2017, but they will release their fifth album with an accompanying art show and movie.
Considering Die Antwoord’s highly theatrical presentation, it’s difficult to say which statement is actually true. Die Antwoord now exists as an entity outside of music, so it seems logical that their project would eventually come to an end, but it just may not be as soon as September 2017.
Currently, nothing is known about Die Antwoord’s final album except for the September 2017 release date, but if the the group really does dissolve, fans will have an epic farewell to look forward to.
The band is still set to release their fourth full-length album, Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid, on September 16 this year.
[Photo by Trixie Textor/Getty Images]