A white Afrikaans house DJ has unleashed a firestorm on social media in South Africa after tweeting about her “blackness.”
Anita Ronge AKA DJ Duchaz AKA Kasi Mlungu has been accused of cultural appropriation and profiting off another culture with her entertainment persona rooted in both urban and traditional black culture. She even did an extensive photo shoot dressed in traditional African garb.
— Kasi Mlungu (@TheDuchAz) February 9, 2017
Even her name is controversial. “Kasi” refers to the black ghettos in South Africa called townships and “Mlungu” is an often derogatory term for a white person. So in American English slang it would roughly translate to Ghetto Cracker.
— Kasi Mlungu (@TheDuchAz) February 8, 2017
Ronge was trending on South African Twitter after tweeting, “I get rejected for not being black enough and being too black to be white … I’m #KasiMlungu & I’m proud.”
Many replied to her post angry that she would imply she was black and even quizzed her on aspects of South African culture. Most replies simply tried to inform Ronge that she was indeed “not black.”
“Why don’t you work on upping your game to be relevant without the cultural appropriation & racist gimmicks for publicity?” one person responded on Twitter.
— Kasi Mlungu (@TheDuchAz) February 10, 2017
Others have come to Ronge’s defense. The singer Ntsiki Mazwai took to Twitter to claim it was okay that Ronge was proud of black culture and called her attackers hypocrites.
“Kasi mlungu STILL trending?” she wrote. “When r u gonna embrace your own heritage so you can stop hating on people who do? U guys r hypocrites….you embrace other cultures but no one can embrace yours gtfoh. Kasi Mlungu does not surprise me. If SA was normal…MOST whites would have an African swag. Its just that our whites r too ‘special.”
In an interview with The Times of South Africa, Ronge said she didn’t understand why cultural appropriation was a problem.
“What is wrong with me adopting African culture, something that is ours, that is local and proudly South African?” she said. “If you look at a lot of the people who were commenting they would have pictures of Beyoncé and that is appropriation of Western culture. If you can adopt Western culture, why can’t I adopt African culture?”