The Kaapse Klopse (Cape Minstrels) Carnival is a cultural statement as forceful now as it was when started back in the 19th century, when slaves of the Cape Colony were allowed a day off on Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year – 2nd January).
The tradition of colourfully costumed, face-painted minstrels playing banjos, drums and whistles through the streets, originated from visiting North American troupes in the late 1880s - says the intro to Gerald Hoberman’s Kaapse Klopse coffee table book.
This colourful book features new photographs of the Minstrels Carnival through the streets of Cape Town, as well as photos from 1969 of the Bo Kaap (Malay Quarter). It includes traditional minstrel songs translated from Afrikaans to English for the first time, as a contribution to the cultural heritage of the Cape.
The parade through the city streets on 2 January 2013, starts in Keizergracht in District 6, into Darling Street, then left into Adderley St, right into Wale Street and right into Rose Street in the Bo Kaap ending at Strand Street.
But during January and February the minstrels compete at Athlone Stadium to come 1st, 2nd or 3rd in three divisions (see dates on the Cape Town Minstrels Carnival Association website), with the prize giving on Saturday 9 February 2013. Last year Eastridge Community Entertainers claimed 1st Prize in the First Division, Star Spangles came top in the Premier League and Santam D6 came 1st in the Super League.
It’s a wonderful celebration of talent, costume design, music, dance and marching bands and more sequins and sparkles than you will see for the rest of the year!