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Some of us on stage at City Hall on Tuesday Pic: JBE Media

Some of us on stage at City Hall on Tuesday
Pic: JBE Media

I’m sitting here, 3 days after yet another amazing road march procession, parading through the historical streets of Cape Town for tweedenuwejaar and I’m still on a buzz! Wednesday, the day after, I spent hours responding to social media, uploading pics and videos and replying to comments and messages and the likes. I also browsed through the minstrel forums on Facebook and especially the FB page of the minstrel group I support, the Juvie Boy Entertainers. It’s like a whole different world you’re entangled in and I love it!

I read tons of comments and most are favourable and complimentary but every now and then I see a “I can’t stand this noise” comment. Of course, that’s your opinion and as a human being you’re entitled to it, but please leave the hundreds and thousands of Capetonians who love this sport, be :)

I LOVE IT! I fly down from Port Elizabeth every year to be a part of Cape Town’s history and share in the richness of her culture and heritage. I get lost in the sea of colours and the magical sounds of the brass bands that bounces off tall buildings who also have their own stories to tell. The sun, the people, the gummies (drums) the tamareine (skin tambourines), the whistles, the techni colour umbrellas and sea of satin.

Pic: melodeon.net

Pic: melodeon.net

For those who don’t know why we do what we do (I’ve explained it a few times in blogs and stories) let me give you the short version. It dates back to slavery days when they had to work all year and their bosses only gave them one day off to enjoy themselves, the second day of January or tweedenuwejaar (Afrikaans). There is a melting pot of influences from both near and far and one such an example is the painting of the faces which sources say are the influenced by the Americans who came to our shores such as the raider ship The Alabama who sailed to Saldanha in Cape Town. We all know the song “Daar kom die Alibama”. Yep, it’s about this ship 😉 Al Jolson and a few other white singers made famous the blackface, whereby they painted their face black to represent a black person and sing jazzy, soul songs.

Pic: baydu.co.za

Pic: baydu.co.za

This practice of blackface was abolished later in the States as it promotes racism and segregation. The face painting started as a simple black painted face with white around the mouth which many minstrels in Cape Town practiced in the early days, I’m guessing the 40’s, 50′ and 60’s, but has since evolved into colourful artwork!

This artwork in itself has become a spectacle on it’s own with faces or complete heads and faces are painted with the troupes colours in designs with glitter!

Pic: JBE Media


Pic: JBE Media

Maybe it’s because I grew up with minstrels and Malay choirs or nagtroepe (also known as Hollandse teame because of the Dutch songs they sing) I have always had a connection to it but as one grows older, you try new things and one tends to move away from the cultural aspects your dad, uncles and aunts introduced you to as a toddler. I am glad the game has changed, it’s still not where it should be but the game is definitely changing. I’m all about preserving our culture and heritage and letting those who come after us do what we’re doing now.

My connection to the sport is also the fact that it keeps thousands of youth “off the streets” and teaches them musical skills. They learn to play instruments and sing and this could be a career in the future. I can name scores of successful artists today who sang for minstrels or Malay choirs including Alistair Izobell, Loukmaan Adams, Emo Adams, Nur Abrahams, Sury Boltman and the likes. The same way folks like Taliep Petersen use to sing in minstrels and choirs as they were growing up.

Video off youtube by Lonwabo Marele

Anyways, I just wanted to tell you about my amazing time I had once again with Juventas or Juvie Boys from Mitchell’s Plain where I am practically family now. The team turned 6 this year and I have been part of the JBE for the last 5 years and loving every minute. I bring along some personalities or celebrities so they can experience this feat for themselves and it’s becoming ever more difficult when most of them wants to come back the next year hahaha :) Some names that have been associated with Juvie Boys include Wayne Mckay, Mr Karl Ahari (Charles Tertiens), David Johnson of 7de Laan, Conrad Jantjes, Siv Ngesi, Scarra Ntubeni, Siya Kolisi, Devon Saunders of devdondidit fame and Yaaseen Barnes. Nizaam Carr and Sameegh Doutie have also been with the troupe as they’ve been involved with the soccer side for many years.

This blog is to let you know, that if you ever had the urge to join and jol with a minstrel troupe, trust me, YOU WILL LOVE IT! If you are not into the competitions and the likes then find a troupe and buy your gear (uniform) and join the carnival parade on 2 January!

Jy sal my weer kom se :)

If you’d like to find out more about Juvie Boy Entertainers, add them on Facebook and any questions should be for the PR person, Ikraam van Witt.

Good luck to all the troupes partaking in the upcoming competitions!

Video by Jimmy de Kock
Juvie Boy Entertainers:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1505191683061530/

Here is the link on black face:

http://black-face.com/minstrel-shows.htm

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