The Kaapse Cacophony

2010-01-07 13:13
Instead, what we have here in Cape Town is an annual onslaught of skollies in costumes so garish they could throw up on themselves and nobody would notice. They terrify the tourists and annoy the crap out of everyone else. They even scare away the drug dealers, which I guess makes them bad for business.

I thought I was alone, but then I asked around. Nobody likes them. Can't we give these people a homeland or something?.

My intolerance is probably exacerbated by the fact that for years, I've literally lived across the road from this cacophonous hell. I can see Bo-Kaap from my living room window, and most of the year, it looked like a harmless little place, minding its own business as it festered away in its own decay. Actually, it looks a lot like Observatory, only with more mosques. Then, every year as summer reached its peak, everybody revolted. The roadblocks went up, the earplugs went in, and the suburb erupted onto the streets below, drowning  the tourism industry in a tsunami of tack and noise.

The Kaapse Klopse is Cape Town's festive season punch line: after enduring the nightmare of smiling like electrocuted zombies as we hand over random presents we've bought for people we make every effort to avoid the rest of the year; after the New Year's party that's unwaveringly disappointing, no matter how much you drink, we're subjected to troupes of eye-bleedingly bright brass bands, clogging the streets and making as much noise as humanly possible on the biggest hangover days of the year.… and seriously, how's that face paint? It's about as politically dodgy as having a 'special' coffee cup for your maid.

Now you may be wondering why an entire suburb annually feels the urge to dress up like a cross between Little Black Sambo and the Nik Naks Man, and then parade their musical handicaps across the city like a pride march without the pride. Well, it all comes down to tradition, you see, and like so many South African traditions, such as vuvuzelas, monkey gland sauce and tailgating, it makes us look stupid as a nation.

But it seems that we're finally starting to grow out of this particular cultural hangnail. Bo-Kaap may still look like a slum, but it's actually become a socio-economic warm front, where new money meets old poverty.

Over the years, nouveau riche yupsters have oozed into the scene. In their desperate quest for culture, they're now spending small fortunes on dilapidated shitholes that most of us wouldn't use for landfill. As a result, the suburb has a newfound delusion of grandeur, as newer residents bring in their anal retentive sense of entitlement, and older residents realise that they're sitting on potential goldmines. So again, a lot like Observatory.

Except Bo-Kaap's residents have started to complain about the monster they once helped to create, prompting the city to ban all but five resident troupes from marching through the suburb.

It's a start. But old traditions die hard. Like killers in slasher movies, you have to beat them and beat them until the baseball bat breaks, then shoot them in the face, then set them on fire. Let's hope the yuppies of Bo-Kaap are up to it. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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