The beauty of Cape cultural music competitions, be it klopse or Malay choirs, is that it showcases the talent from the community and impacts the lives of the youngsters who choose to participate in them positively.
I never understood why anyone would want to be part of a 300-piece band, go to practice every day and sacrifice so much time, only to be part of a collective who are walking behind a thousand other people.
I have always been a moppie lead singer, from the very first time I stepped on stage in front of a choir.
I’ve never stood in the pak, so for me it was baffling to see the commitment to be part of something where you were not likely to be taken notice of.
Then as I got older, I realised that it does not matter what our role in the troupe is, because it is an opportunity to be part of something bigger than you, and it’s about the escape that it represents.
This year’s Jive Culture Shock competition again boasts a team that is proud of their community and they go by the name of The Fairfield Meat Tjommies.
They hail all the way from Hanover Park and they are proud of their hometown.
Team leader Waasief Losper says: “Our focal point at Tjommies is our youth. We are giving them the opportunity to show that Hanover Park is much more than drugs, gangsterism and negativity.
“We stay clear (of that) and focus on the positives, which is to be there for our brothers and sisters and give them a performance that will be worth their money.”
Tjommies took part in Keep the Dream Malay choir board and closer to the end of the year, the team would have practised with the Coons.
However, this was all restricted due to the lockdown and the team missed the feeling of celebrating this unique South African tradition.
So last year, Losper was approached and given the opportunity to perform in Culture Shock Season 1.
The exposure led to a boost in their confidence, and the excitement is high as this year they have the opportunity to compete again.
“Gathering during the pandemic and bonding with brothers as a family helps them to remain positive,” says Losper.
Tjommies coach Maalick Petersen, a former band member, has stepped up and taken the initiative to coach and is doing an exceptional job with their items.
He says: “As a member of the team, what stood out for me was the fact that new members such as our liedjie singer joined and from day one felt home.”
The team now understands the Jive Culture Shock competition much better because there is no limit to just how creative one can get.
They have now decided to go with two voorsingers on the Nederlandslied, namely Fagri Adams and Yaseen Lewis.
The development of the youth is what I love about Tjommies, they do not look outside of their community for people, they give their own a chance first.
This is what culture is about and how we find our new stars – by giving them an opportunity first.
I might never have stood in a singpak but I do know that if it wasn’t for Boeta Maan Adams giving me the opportunity to sing for the Woodstock Starlites and Violets, then my life might not have gone in the right direction.
It was that one opportunity that changed my life and pushed me from the streets of Mitchells Plain to stages all around the world.
And if the Tjommies continue to develop their youth, then soon we will see one of them doing great things.
Losper says: “Lastly, to the amazing team from Culture Shock, the coaches, mentors, organisers, sponsors and even our own sponsor for this year, we are hungry to make the best out of this opportunity and we appreciate all effort and support that you are investing in us.
“We ask our supporters to please vote for us.”