January 2 – Kaapse Klopse in Cape Town, South Africa

Posted on January 2, 2017

If you don’t speak Afrikaans, Kaapse Klopse doesn’t mean much to you — but what if I told you that the English name is Cape Town Minstrel Carnival?

Maybe you are still a bit at sea — minstrel isn’t that common a word except in historical concepts. It simply means a musician or singer. 

Another name for the day is Tweede Nuwe Jaar — which translates as Second New Year. Like many others, the people of Cape Town extend the New Year’s festivities to January 2 every year. 

(Here in the U.S., January 2 is usually an ordinary day, but this year it is a public holiday because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. Lots of New Year’s Day stuff got moved to today for that reason.)

Today about 13,000 minstrels will parade about the streets, dressed in bright colors, and those who aren’t playing musical instruments will be holding colorful umbrellas.

Sounds fun, right?

Actually, these days the various musical troupes compete with one another in a variety of categories, from the musical (Best Brass Band, for example), to the performance (Best Juvenile Drum Major, judged for his or her dance), to the creative (Best Dress). There are at least a dozen different competition categories. That involve marching and dancing, singing in harmony and performing jazz, comic songs and love songs…and on and on!

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