In one of the most competitive cultural traditions, namely the Cape Malay choirs, two brothers have managed to maintain their strong family bond while still rendering a service on two different sides of the fence.
What makes it more significant is the fact that they are not just brothers, but identical twins.
Faizal and Riedewaan Lawrence are known among their Malay Choir peers as the “Terrible Twins”.
I have on many occasions mistaken the one for the other, because yoh, hulle lyk dieselfde.
The journey for the Lawrence twins within the fraternity started many years ago when they were just laaities at the tender age of 10.
They were introduced to the fraternity by their late father, Mogammad Saait Lawrence, who took his sons along with him when he joined his first nagtroep in 1975.
The twins joined the Troebedoors singkoor in 7th Avenue, Belgravia, at a time when the competition was being held at the Three Arts Theatre.
Faizel says: “Ons was baie excited want choirs het aangetrek in three-piece-suits, daai was vir ons die first attraction.”
The twins basically grew up at the Troebedoors and later moved on to join up with Billy Jafta and Boeta Ebrahiema Toffar’s Galaxy singkoor.
Riedewaan says: “Daai tyd toe parade die nagteame oujaarsaande en nuwe middag en die volgende Sarag (Saturday).”
Faizal says he remembers when their comic jumped ship at the eleventh hour and how he and his brother came to the team’s rescue, performing the moppie ‘Galiema doen die lambada dans’, for which they were awarded second place.
When the Galaxy singkoor closed, the twins moved on to the Morning Glories in the early ’80s.
They spent 10 years with this koor and then parted ways for the very first time, when they decided to join different boards, where they now hold the same portfolios.
Riedewaan has been a manager at the Keep The Dream Malay Choir Board for more than 10 years, while Faizal is a manager at the Cape Malay Choir Board for the past 24 years.
Although they prefer to do things differently, their passion and love for this sport remain the same, as do their affection for each other.
The genuine love that these brothers have for the culture is admirable, but the fact that they are still so caring towards each other, what with all the infighting in the fraternity, is a tribute to their character and the values that their late parents instilled in them.
The commitment they show towards their boards is honourable and I am sure their father would be proud of the contributions they have made over the years to our beloved culture.
They are beautiful examples of why there does not have to be any hatred and acrimony in this game, not if you truly love the culture and want to see it flourish.
With that said, keep up the good work, ouens, keep inspiring the youth with your legacy, because you will be remembered as the not so terrible twins but the most loved twins of the Cape Malay choir family.