With song about Boer War general, Afrikaans singer stirs controversy

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The question goes out, and the response is always the same.

"I'm proud of my language and culture. Are you?" Bok van Blerk demands of the emotionally charged crowd.

Up goes the cheer, and then comes the song - an Afrikaans folk number about a Boer war general that has become a sensation in South Africa as an anthem for young whites who say they are tired of being made to feel guilty about the apartheid past.

The song, De La Rey, has swept into rugby matches and pubs where Afrikaners belt out its plea for the old Boer general to come back and lead. Many stand with a hand over their heart as they sing the lyrics about a "nation that will rise up again" as if it were a national anthem.

But while the song is a best seller among South Africa's 2.5 million Afrikaners, it is also generating a heated debate about what its success means.

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