Amanda Strydom doesn’t hide her bipolar

Here’s what Amanda Strydom had to say about Bipolar earlier this year:

- oor haar bipolariteit

(It changed my life and built my life.)

Let’s look back… way back… back when modems still made noises from hell…

The Amandla! incident

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Strydom achieved notoriety in 1986 for giving the black power salute after one of her songs in her cabaret at the Oude Libertas Hall in Stellenbosch. This salute was intimately associated with the black struggle and is still used as a call by black political leaders to this day. (The speaker would shout Amandla! raising his right fist in the air, to which an informed or sympathetic crowd would respond Ngawethu!) At the height of P.W. Botha’s presidency it would have been taboo for any white Afrikaans woman to use this salute on stage in front of a white-only audience. Consequently, Amanda Strydom was soon referred to as Amandla Strydom in popular culture. Strydom uses the black salute on stage to this day and even occasionly refers to herself as Amandla.
Shortly after this scandal Strydom was facing her own private struggle with bipolar depression, something she has written about honestly in her play In Full Light, and in the song Strydom/Amandla. She worked very little between 1988 and 1990. It is worthwhile to note that Strydom’s depression coincided with a very traumatic time in the history of her country, and also that she returned to public life at the same time that apartheid was being dismantled.
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Strydom/Amandla was (ironically) the first ever Amanda Strydom song I ever heard (back in the nineties, kids, when I was definitely bipolar, but far from the diagnosis) and it’s still the one I love best. She’s done what we should all attempt at some point, to apply some creativity and haul out what we have stuck inside. Bi-fucking-polar. It’s really well done too, it’s all very humorous, but by the last verse, the message is clear – you can find plenty to laugh about, but it doesn’t stop the pain. I couldn’t find an audio or video online, so you’ll have to be content with the lyrics I’m afraid. If you’re interested in hearing it, it originally appeared on the 1996 album Vrou by die spieël (my favourite album of hers too) and it’s also available on Stroomop, released in 2010.

 

Strydom / Amandla

Strydom/Amandla manies depressief
So staan dit opgeteken in my dokter se argief
Ek praat te veel
Ek lag te hard
Daar’s stemme in my kop
Die wanbalans is bipolêr
– ons sluit haar liewers op

My dokter is aansienlik
Hy’s blond en bruingebrand
‘n Connoiseur in psigiatrie
Gewerf in die buiteland
Hy vra my oor my kleintyd
My moeder en my pa
Was hulle dalk ook depressief
Ek antwoord toe maar – ja

Koor:
Hit me with valium
Fill me up with lithium
Stick me full of needles
‘Cause I’m crazy crazy
‘Cause I’m crazy

Die tralies voor my venster is vir veiligheid bedoel
So sê nurse Van Staden en sy glimlag ewe koel
En die dapperes bring blomme
Die skugteres bly weg
Die pers kom loer soos jakkalse en skryf
“Meisie, dit gaan maar sleg”

Koor:
Hit me with valium
Fill me up with lithium
Stick me full of needles
‘Cause I’m crazy crazy
’cause I’m crazy

Ek vleg bedags macrames
Speel smiddae terapie
En saans help ek Dolores om met waardigheid te pie

In Junie word ek vrygelaat ek’s vet en lui gelê
Die pyn en die vernedering – wat gaan die mense sê?
Ek liefkoos nou my stilte, daar’s watte in my kop
My dokter het my mak gemaak – kyk
Ek lyk nou nes die trop

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Sommige mense reken jou werk is deesdae ligter/vroliker. Het jou gemoed gelig? Is die donker wolke weg? Hoe hanteer jy jou Bipolêre?
Ek wíl die lig laat deurskyn. Ek sal altyd aan bipolêre depressie ly, dis soos diabetes – ek weet net hoe om dit te beheer – ek drink my medikasie al 20 jaar en is nooit weer deur die vernederende gevolge van hierdie verlammende siekte lamgelê nie. Mense skryf so baie vir my, of keer my ná ’n vertoning voor met die vrae: my sus, boet, ma, pa, kind ly aan bipolêre depressie – wát moet hulle doen? My antwoord is altyd: Drink jou medikasie. Ek het absolute begrip van my “kondisie” – en het daarmee vrede gemaak. Ek was nog nooit so kreatief soos nou nie. Ek dank God dat ek in die lig kan dans – en as die donkerte kom, en glo my, dit gebeur elke nou en dan, gebruik ek die skryfproses om my daaruit te lig. So het van my beste werk tot stand gekom. Volksblad

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12 responses to “Amanda Strydom doesn’t hide her bipolar

  1. I flipping love this song!!! First time I ever heard about it now and I will definitely never forget it. We have some jewels in our country for sure. Wish I could hear this song. Maybe when I have the cash I’ll find the album and make it my new soundtrack for my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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