Die Antwoord’s Most Zef

Photography by Ross Garret

When Die Antwoord first got “all up on the interwebs” back in 2009, the world thought they were just a group of pasty-faced South African hooligans who happened to write good songs. But when the music community began to scratch the surface of their crudely-rendered homemade tattoos, critics and fans alike discovered a much more complex performance at play. Today, Die Antwoord’s Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er, and DJ Hi-Tek aren’t just a bunch of fame-hungry troublemakers with questionable, politically-inspired aesthetics. Rather, they’ve proven themselves to be talented artists whose creative vision has helped put South African culture back on the world stage. With a name that translates to “the answer” in Afrikaans, Die Antwoord is a kind of art-rock hybrid that’s not just a band, but an exotic fusion of art, performance, and music that has defined a new kind of style, something Die Antwoord calls “Zef.”

“Zef’s kind of, like, you don’t give a fuck, and you have your own flavor, and you’re on your own mission,” Yo-Landi Vi$$er told The Guardian in 2010. “It’s associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is you’re poor, but you’re fancy. You’re poor, but you’re sexy. You’ve got style.”

These days, Die Antwoord have released TEN$ION, a followup to their highly successful 2009 debut, $O$. They’re touring sold-out shows in support of their sophomore album, which they’ve issued through their indie label, Zef Recordz, after recently leaving Interscope. Meanwhile, Die Antwoord continue to incite and inspire a growing legion of fans who are members of their own ersatz army. Below, you’ll find a collection of photos featuring a few of our favorite “Zeflings,” culled from Die Antwoord’s Facebook page. But first, check out the Spring 2012 T by Alexander Wang campaign video featuring Die Antwoord’s Zef style.