10 October 2010 by Chris Marais

Goths In The Karoo

Daniel and Debbi are a nice young couple from Cape Town, and they, like many urban dwellers, have come to live in a small Karoo town. They chose Fraserburg in the Upper Karoo, an eccentric little settlement that was about to become a whole bunch more eccentric with their arrival.

That’s because Daniel and Debbi are Goths. Yep, black leather jacket, all-night moves, plastic funeral flowers at the window and a red-horned mannequin in a sexy corset on the back stoop. They’re both successful artists these days. Daniel is a gifted graphic designer and Debbi is one of the few local painters to really ‘get’ a Karoo landscape.

Jules and I drove around Fraserburg with Daniel and Debbi in their ancient Toyota, a car that frequently starts only when one lays a despairing head on the steering wheel - and sighs.

Fraserburg, for the most part, has politely accepted the Goths in their midst. When they first arrived and attended the local agricultural show in their black leather outfits, there was no more than a polite silence over at the stock pens.

Occasionally, some of the local brats would throw stones on their roof and shout “Die kraaie, die kraaie,” (the crows, the crows) before giggling and running away.

Once someone sidled up to them and asked politely if they ever kidnapped children.

“Do the maths, dude,” Daniel snapped back. “How many children have gone missing since we arrived?” Asked and answered, as they say in Law & Order.

Of course, small town life has its down-sides, even for hardy Goth types. When we were visiting, Fraserburg had completely run out of black hair dye, for example. So Debbi’s roots - on that day - were unusually brunette. Only in the Karoo…

Category: Culture & History

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