‘Jantjie’ is one of Sonja’s well-known hits and Sonja herself is one of Afrikaan’s music’s well-known personalities. With her super-innocent image and voice, she takes this Anton Goosen penned tune and makes it a heartbreaking song of a woman missing her man. Quite where Jantjie has disappeared off to is not clear in the lyrics. It could be that he’s a restless spirit and is off who knows where again. It could be he’s a child who has run away from home and the Katryntjie waiting for him is a small sister. Perhaps (given the time when the song was released) it is a youngster who has been called up and Katryntjie is a girlfriend.
Somehow Sonja manages not to give anything away as she sings and this leaves the listener to make up their own minds about the back story of Jantjie and Katryntjie. She could be singing as a little girl missing her brother, or a girlfriend missing a boyfriend who is doing his army stint, or a woman deserted by her husband. She is all these in one.
Often the subject of jokes and a symbol of all that was perceived to be wrong with Afrikaans music pre-Voelvry, one has to take ones hat off though to Sonja for her perseverance and longevity. (There is an interesting connection between Jantjie and the Voelvry movement as the b-side of Sonja Herholdt’s single was ‘Al Le Die Berge Nog So Blou’ which Johannes Kerkorrel recorded for his ‘Ge-Trans-For-Meer’ album). Love her or hate her, she is an icon of South African music and ‘Jantjie’ is one of those songs that made her the Queen of Afrikaans music.
Where to find it:
Sonja Herholdt – Gunsteling treffers (1992), CDOA115