Here’s a digression into why and how I came to build dihansite.com.
The short version: Some people make things with their hands. I like the challenge of shaping a website. This is the first site in which I’ve had design assistance, and from the subject, no less!
Site building began in Scotland. More specifically, in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. Does that sound vaguely familiar? It’s intoned by Duncan MacLeod, in the opener of “Highlander”, the TV series.
When I started to make a Youtube about “Highlander”, I searched for a cover of one of Highlander’s theme songs “Dust In the Wind.” As sung by Kansas, it’s a really sad depressing theme and I wanted something uptempo. Amazon.com lists 102 MP3 versions for sale. I narrowed it down , by only auditioning male vocals. David Fourie’s cover was number 78 on the list.
As I was about to purchase his song, I saw other songs in the same album, some in English, others, in a language I had no clue what it was, but the tunes were catchy. I liked enough songs that I bought the entire album. Little did I know that was the start of something really huge.
I discovered that the language was a South African language called “Afrikaans.” Unlike the other languages native to the continent, Afrikaans had European roots, which is why some of the sounds sounded familiar, given that American English retains many Dutch based words.
I liked the sound of Afrikaans so much, I searched for other music. Between Youtube and the music site, rhythmrecords.co.za. I must have checked out dozens of groups and singers. My favorites were a boy band, Hi-5 and a soloist, Dihan Slabbert. I bought “Versoeking”, the album in which Dihan was not a participant. It wasn’t until a little later that I discovered that Dihan was actually a former member of that very group. I think it an eerie coincidence (which I like to think of as a Divine steering), that with no prior knowledge, I chose just those two, out of all the other vocalists.
My ultimate goal, in building websites is that it forces me out of my comfort zone, and opens me to a larger scope of knowledge. I learned a tremendous amount of technical stuff, as evidenced by my mumblings on this blog. I learned a lot of current and not so current events: I was aware of the dissolution of apartheid, but not really aware, nor of its implications. Some of the current backlash, reminds me of the U.S. in its infancy of anti-discrimination laws. And Geography. I can locate Pretoria and Cape Town, which is significant, considering my poor geographical sense. I watched youtubes of beautiful jacaranda trees in bloom, and magnificent historical state buildings in the capital. And the heated debate over a burgeoning political system trying to steer a course.
On a more trivial note, I learned some really useless things (for an American in America) like… given the musical cue, I can sing the South African National Anthem. I learned it mostly phonetically at first, but once I knew some Afrikaans words, it got easier. I can also recite the Lord’s Prayer in Afrikaans. And I can recognize and translate certain words sung in Afrikaans pop songs. Like some people pick up useless statistics, I pick up words in a foreign language, spoken thousands of miles away. It adds a quirky new dimension to my life.
A secondary, but not less important reason for building the dihansite: I wanted to share my enthusiasm for Dihan’s music with as many people as I can. And I wanted to repay him for the good vibes I get from his music. This is my way of sending Dihan Slabbert a really large and public “thank you” card!