Is it really youth development?
With the klopse and nagtroep season now completely closed, I thought I would use this opportunity to address an issue that really irks me – the issue of “supposed” youth development.
When all is said and done, it is the community of the Cape Flats who buy uniforms and support the minstrels and the Malay choirs.
They fill the seats at the competitions and they come out in their numbers on New Year’s Eve (nagtroepe) and Tweede Nuwe Jaar (klopse).
So it really gets my blood boiling when the it Klopse troupes use laaities from outside their community to perform their junior sentimental and junior combined chorus – and some Malay choirs don’t even field a junior soloist for competitions and spend little or no resources on training our youngsters.
What message are we sending when we are virtually telling our youngsters that they are good enough to jol in the street – but not good enough to represent their troupe on stage?
Sadly the culture of Klopse has become extremely commercialised and it is all about winning. Troupes spend lots of money to go and hire junior soloists and junior choirs to win a prize.
What about that laaitie that loves his klops and brags about it every chance he gets?
The laaities who are at the Klopskamer every week?
The laaities who know all the songs and every move by heart – how dare we have the audacity to tell them they are not good enough?
It saddens and angers me that we are discarding our youth in the pursuit of winning trophies – especially within these turbulent times of gang violence, drugs and other social ills.
Throughout the season you will see a group of children passionately blowing their hearts out in the brass band for a troupe, but come Best Band at the Stadium, these same troupes have gone and “bought”musicians for that item.
I take my hat off to the troupes who are using the minstrels as a platform for further developing and exposing our youth to good experiences. We need more Taliep Petersens and Jonathan Butlers to be discovered on that stage.
I am urging the Klopse boards to really start looking into their mandate of “Youth Development”and see that it filters down to the troupes.
Some boards might have to completely change their criteria or even adjust it, but something has to be done, because it is wrong to say that children from our communities are good enough to jol with the troupe – but not good enough to represent them.
There is something wrong with the entire mindset, system and criteria surrounding this.
With regards to the Malay choirs, year after year I watch as the orchestras take the stage to perform with the team.
When are we going to stop hiring these musicians and make a concerted effort to teach our children to play these instruments?
When are we truly going to get around to training our children in the art of Cape Malay Choir singing so that this culture may survive in these trying times?
To those who argue that they have tried this and there is no interest, to them I say: “You are doing it wrong!”
As a community we should stop using words and phrases like “our culture” and “our traditions” only when it suits us.
Put your money where your mouth is and start actively developing our youth to continue with “our culture” and “our tradition”.