Sunday, January 6, 2008

'Klopse' -carnival in the Cape- 2 January..

We are offended when all people know about people of Coloured descend is the 'coons' or 'troepe'. When that is all we are known and loved for, then it becomes a stereotype, because then all of us are suppose to have no front teeth and dance and act stupic and comic, like a 'coon' of course. After all, this is our culture.

I am familiar with the fact that even the word 'coon' is offensive and relates to the practice from the time of slavery (also in other parts of the world) to 'entertain' whites with typical antics and the reinforcement of warped caricatures of slaves and people of colour. Back in the days, '2de nuwejaar' is the time for the marches and the frolics that goes along with that. As we have moved up the social scale, it became an embarrassment- a reminder of working class life, under apartheid, colonialism (or even slavery). Another interpretation suggest that underneath this, was a subversion of the then dominant colonial culture. Irrespective of our interpretations and serious (?) preservations, this art form (!) is seemingly thriving. It's a weird experience when you hear in 2007 that your teenage cousin from Bonteheuwel, who just passed matric, is part of a troup and more-so that more and more youngsters and girls are involved-when the old is remixed with new hip-hop dances and styles; when close to 80 000 people/ fans line up the streets of Cape Town waiting to 3 hours for the procession to start. It's a thrill to watch young artists like Loukmaan Adams, Mono Dullisear, Terry Hector, Allistar Isobell, Tarryn Lamb, Carmen Maarman and Bronwyn Reddy celebrate/perform David Kramer and Talliep Petersen songs like 'Klop-klop' Ghoema/New Year', etc, in the Baxter theater with packed audiences from all walks of life. It is then maybe more accurate to suggest that we still create and re-create new expressions of who we are and also how we fit into the bigger picture. In this process we selectively appropriate elements from our collective history, biographies, but also new technologies and bits and pieces of current pop culture and form the collective identities that shape us unconsciously, yet profoundly. In this way we strive to stand up to the real social challenges of today.

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