Kaapse Klopse

The Kaapse Klopse (or simply Klopse) is a minstrel festival that takes place annually on 2 January in Cape Town, South Africa. It is also referred to as Tweede Nuwe jaar (Second New Year.) As many as 13,000 minstrels take to the streets garbed in bright colours, carrying colourful umbrellas or playing an array of musical instruments.

During the 19th century, the New Year was celebrated by the Dutch and was considered to be the biggest annual feast. Slaves would get a day off on 2 January and were allowed to celebrate in their own manner. Slavery was officially abolished in the Cape on 1 December 1834. The Tweede Nuwe Jaar became a celebration that united the “creole culture” in Cape Town. It is estimated that the first carnival troupe was organised in 1887.

Modern celebration of Tweede Nuwe Jaar is a reminder of the slave past of colonial Cape Town and the importance of music and dance as part of the celebration of freedom. The klopse has played a significant role in addressing social challenges like crime, drug abuse, and AIDS. It is also used to build bridges between the communities after the apartheid era.

Apart from providing entertainment, the Kaapse Klopse has also become a means of building skills in the community. The Kaapse Klopse and associated choir singing give the participating children the opportunity to learn the art of performing music and dance and exposes them to practising music three times a week in preparation for their performances.

These activities paved the way for world-famous musicians like Taliep Petersen and Jonathan Butler who both received the ‘Juvenile Sentimental Trophy’ awards in previous competitions.

This image was created by Olga Ernst and available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

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