On Sunday, I visited the klopskamer of Lavender Super Stars in Seawinds.This was not my first visit there, and as always, het die kinders diep in my hart gekruip.
In a community ravaged by poverty, gangsterism, drugs, abuse and violence, the beautiful children of Lavender Hill Super Stars still manage to smile.
I spent most of the afternoon chatting to the kids. I wanted to know why, on an icy cold Sunday afternoon, they walked from their homes to be at the klopskamer.
One child said to me: “Antie, sometimes there is no food at home and I am hungry. Sometimes the gangsters shoot and I hide under my bed, but when I come here and I hear the music and the beat, then I forget about all of that, and I am happy. So that is why I come here.”
He then squeezed my hand and whispered: “Can you put us on the Voorlopertjie page in the Voice, kanallah? That will be so kwaai!”
I nearly burst into tears, realising this is the life of many children on the Cape Flats. I was also touched that being in the Voorlopertjie column of the Daily Voice meant so much to these kids.
I then spoke to trumpeter, Achmat Davids, 15.
This is his first year with the troupe. His mother and aunt were also there. Mom Mariam explained that her sister Jasmine saved her money and paid R1000 for a second hand trumpet for Achmat. Jasmine added that although things were very tough at home after buying the instrument, she would do it again.
Mariam was quick to add: “In Lavender Hill, teenage boys either become gangsters or get killed by gangsters. There is nothing for them to do here, so they end up roaming the streets. Since Achmat got his trumpet he is at home all the time. Hy blaas heeldag.
“Achmat practises hard to get better, because he loves being part of the band at Lavender Hill Super Stars. Anyone who says that klopse does not make a difference in children’s lives, does not live where we live and they don’t know what they are talking about. My kind is ’n different kind nou.”
These stories made me feel so good, and then troupe owner Abubakar “Boebie” Alexander completely burst my bubble, when he said: “Our troupe is 22 years old, and in all this time we have seen very little being done for our community. All the politicians do is make promises which they don’t keep.
“We never see them and they don’t do anything for us, but now it’s election time and they want to use our children and our band to promote them in the area. Where are they other times? These politicians must stop using our community to get fat salaries and then do nothing to help us, and then just disappear till the next election.”
Food and safety are basic human rights that sadly not one everyone enjoys.
Those living in luxury, who ignorantly and arrogantly refer to all people in the klopse as “gangsters, merchants and skollies”, should take off their blinkers and realise that the klopse, and what they mean for people now, is very different from what it was 15 years ago.
You should come with me on a Sunday afternoon as I visit these klopskamers, and hopefully you’ll see the beauty of my community as I see them. In the meantime, don’t speak about what you don’t know. Your reality is not the reality of many around you.
Troupe owners like Boebie, their executive and captains who work to make a difference in their communities are unsung heroes.
As for the politicians making empty promises to get our votes and then just disappear, they make me want to vomit.
I am reminded of the saying: “Politicians are like sperm - one in every million actually ends up being a decent human being.”
The klopse community is far from perfect, but are all “gangsters, merchants, skollies and lowlifes”? Oh hell no!
Our klopse people are magnificent, and I’m proud to know them and be one of them.
A huge Voorlopertjie shout out to young Lavender Super Stars supporters, Nathaniel Davids, 12, from Lavana Primary, Janoedien Isaacs, 10, from Hillview Primary and Adrian Robain, 12, from Prince George Primary.
All three of you have the potential to be great – and you definitely made my day.