Can You Help Identify an Afrikaans Song?

Simon wrote looking for help with a South African poem or song that his mother would recite…

My mother was born in Kimberley, South Africa back in 1919. Family name was Rhoda.

Although she left South Africa as a very young child and died in 2007, I can recall she used to recite some lines from an Afrikaans song or poem.

All I can remember was a line which (phonetically) sounded something like “pret prur-rarer” [or “pret” (like the coffee shops Pret a Manger) then “prur-rarer”].

A long shot but it would be amazing if you can recognize from such a limited information but I thought it worth asking… I don’t think my mother knew what the song was about in English but she said she learnt it on the long ship journey from Cape Town to England…

Fingers crossed

Best wishes from England


If anyone can help Simon, please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, January 28th, 2018 at 6:14 pm and is filed under Afrikaans, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Languages, Mama Lisa, Questions, South Africa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Can You Help Identify an Afrikaans Song?”

  1. Willem Says:

    We don’t know the song, but the pre purr made my colleague remember her mum speaking about a pret-parade (a parade of fun). Here is an example of a recent one in Swellendam.


  2. Geoff Brooks Says:


    It sounds as if your mother was singing a song called “Vat jou goed en trek”. Here are the words as I know them:

    Vat jou goed en trek Ferreira,
    vat jou goed en trek!
    Agter die bos is ‘n klompie perde,
    vat jou goed en trek!
    Swaar dra, al aan die een kant,
    swaar dra, al aan die een kant,
    swaar dra, al aan die een kant,
    vat jou goed en trek!

    The “pret prur-rarer” that you remember is probably “trek Ferreira”

    Here’s a rendition:

    Another version has the following substitution for lines 3 and 4:
    Vat jou goed en trek Ferreira
    Jannie met die hoepelbeen

    Here’s a story about the origin of the song: This story gives some connection to the “hoepelbeen” (bandy legs) line.

    Here’s another version, apparently translated from Afrikaans, and with a slightly different tune and meter: This is not the version I know, but it also includes the “trek Ferreira” phrase and the reference to bandy legs. If I had to guess, I’d say the first version I gave you is the original, and the second is a recomposition in English for use with young children.

    I hope one of these is the song you remember. Reply if you’d like a translation.


  3. Vanesse Says:

    Can it be “Jan Pierewiet” – you already have it on your site?

    You said it sounded “(phonetically) something like “pret prur-rarer” – can be the “Pierewiet” part?


  4. Lisa Says:

    It could be!

    Here’s the link to the Jan Pierewiet song.

  5. Tania Says:

    Elke dag sonder haar is so leeg niemand kan dit vul

  6. Judith Lloyd Says:

    When I was a child back in the late 1940s my mother had an Afrikaans friend who taught me this song phonetically. The version I recall goes
    “I had a wife her name was Sarah, van ya hooten trek,
    She ran off with Yan Ferrera , van ya hooten trek.”
    Then followed a chorus which went:
    “Zva dra op per de unken, zva dra op per de unken, zva dra op per de unken, Yanni met der opel ben.”
    (The Afrikaans is all phonetic, of course!)
    The second verse ran:
    “Ugly thing, I couldn’t bear her, van ya hooten trek,
    I felt sorry for Ferreira” etc
    And the third verse:
    “Back next day came Yan Ferrera, van ja hooten trek,
    Please my friend take back your Sarah” etc.

    I still sing it to this day, and I am 80.

  7. Dick Says:

    I think it is Vat jou goed en trek Ferreira…. It was the theme tune for Springbok Radio when I lived in SA in the 70s x

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