I was 15 years old when I entered a klopskamer for the first time.
I went with Boeta Maan Adams, the owner of Kinnes Vannie Ses, to the Woodstock town hall to be part of one of the most famous minstrel teams of that time, The Fabulous Woodstock Starlites.
The beautiful sound of choral singing was alive and the joy of moppie and the rhythm of the ghoema brought that klopskamer to life.
In that singpak of the late Boeta Dienie were some of the best singers in this game.
Today, these gentlemen are hailed as living legends, including the likes of Sam Crouch, Moosa Parker, Mubariek Alexandre, Yunus Jones and more.
The vibe amongst the ouens was what made the team; they played klops like a Brotherhood en niemand het afgebreek nie.
Now that was a klopskamer which beautifully represented this game of klops and since that first day, I’ve never missed one practice.
I ended up singing a comic for the Woodstock Starlites, the first team I ever sang for.
On Sunday, a host of klopskamers on the Flats opened for the season and one of them was the Hip Hop Minstrels from Lentegeur.
The Hip Hop Minstrels originally started in 2002 and were actually dormant until last season.
The team is now being run by Adiel Philander who is striving to push the Hip Hop Minstrels to the next level.
One of their main goals is to draw the youth towards the klopskamer, not only to get and keep them off the street, but to start grooming the next generation of minstrels.
For this team, the klopskamer is the heart of the klops, so they intend for it to become a second home to vulnerable youth.
Naturally, they don’t allow any alcohol or drugs at their klopskamer and there are rules to follow.
The klopskamer is open every Sunday at Lentegeur High School and spokesperson Nabeweyah Ryklief says: “Anyone is free and welcome to join.”
The Hip Hop Minstrels did well in the previous season, taking third place in a very tough second section of the Kaapse Klopse Karnivaal Association (KKKA) but they believe that they could possibly win the carnival this year.
The Carnival Kings of section one for 2019, the West London All Stars, also opened klopskamer on Sunday.
The room was packed with spectators and team members who were all excited to hear about the plans for the new season.
Moppie coach Taurik Blignaut said he was pleased to find an impressive FORTY new singpak manne standing in front of him.
Another pleasant surprise was to see that Impronto and Challa McKriel are now the resident band and bandmaster at West London All Stars.
For day one of the new season, this team stieked uit wild with a close to a 200-piece band.
When I asked Da Boss, Waleed Hendricks, about their plans for the upcoming season, he said: “This year we want to give them a show like they have never seen before because ons gee nie krag weg nie. We are the Carnival Kings and we will defend our title.”
I also caught a glimpse of Kensington All Stars on my way home, when I spotted their band on the field and stopped for a few minutes.
This team has lots of potential and over the past two years they impressed me.
I believe that they have opened early enough this year and could be quite a threat in the carnival.
But the biggest thing for me about the klopskamers is the food that they serve.
Sometimes that plate of food is the only thing these youngsters will eat for that day.
I want to salute all our klopskamers, you are changing lives and making an impact.
With that said, good luck to all for this year’s season of klops.