The culture of Klops and Malay Choirs is such a competitive game at times that many players have spent their entire lives as rivals, with some even becoming “sworn enemies”.
You genuinely come into the game because you love it and you are attracted to it, but then end up playing an item solely to beat one or two players your entire career.
The indoctrination of you having to beat this one or that one to become the best has been coming on for a very long time, with no end in sight.
The teams convince you that you are talented enough to become the best and that you should dislike or hate your rival to be able to beat him.
I have seen over the years how family members or best friends come to hate one another just because of this sport.
En moenie praat van as jy die team los om vir ’* ander een te gaan sing nie!
Dan is dit eers gielaaf (controversy) and some even want to physically hurt you!
This is a serious sport and people invest their lives into what they see as their legacy, so in one sense I understand their desperation to win.
I had a rivalry myself with a few people.
My last and longest one was with a guy called Tauriq ‘Tolla’ Blignaut.
People told him I had an ego and that I’m a brekgat and that I don’t like him.
So for all those years I never spoke to him, I just walked past him and here we are talking about more than 10 years.
Imagine walking past someone for a decade, not taking their hand or even saying something good about their item.
Both of us did the moppie and we were both good albeit in different ways.
Tauriq took moppies to another level by adding props and lots of showmanship while I believed in the more traditional approach.
In truth, we were both adding value to the carnival and bringing great excitement to the item.
There were about five years where we both only watched each other’s items because we knew nobody could create better moppies.
Yes, they could beat us perhaps, but not create new, fresh and exciting moppies like we did.
Imagine focusing on one person for over 10 years because of a rivalry created by others.
People used to say to me, "My broer, Tolla kom vir jou die jaar, daai man is op ’n anner level."
Blignaut recently told me he was fed the same lies about me.
We have now realised it was a false rivalry, created by others and that we could compete and be civil to each other and even became friends.
It is sad in a way because the same people who make up these stories are actually good people, but who think that negative rivalry is the only way to bring out the best in their artists.
I am telling this story to demonstrate how petty people in this game can be.
These days Tauriq and I see each other almost every day and he’s even offered to be my son’s godfather.
We have managed to see each other’s true character and not the fictitious ones created by people in the fraternity.
So much so that we are now working together on projects outside the minstrels.
One of our projects is a tribute show to the moppie kings of Cape Town, coming out in October.
With that said, I want to advise the youth: don’t allow this sport of klops to break valuable friendships and family ties.
Play the sport solely for the love of the game.