Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bo Kaap's Happy Boys

We drove to the Atlas Trading Company in the Bo Kaap. I thought they might have the glass chimneys that are so good at shielding candles from wind on outdoor nights. The Trading Co. was closed. Today is a public holiday - The Day of Reconciliation. But we parked anyway, and walked the steep streets in the hot sun. We were too late for the noonday gun.

Mosques, minarets, cobbles...

....and thick old walls. Cool inside in summer.

                             Between the houses people gathered on corners. Something was up.

Then Shafiek (below, behind the tambourine, with painted face) asked us to take a picture of his crew. He told us that music was about to happen, so we stuck around.

We heard the sounds of a band coming up a hill.

And The Happy Boys arrived in a blast of brass and a jittering of tambourines. Kaapse Klopse. The big, big day is Tweede Nuwe Jaar (second new year), but today's was a celebration of an observance of sixteen days of activism regarding non-violence towards women and children (according to their Facebook page).

It felt good to be in Cape Town.

Higher up another troop was moving down the streets to make a union. We circled, and I sat in the shade while Vince took pictures.

Women directed the setting up of dozens of platters of sliced watermelon and spanspek, refreshment for the thirsty troops.

We retreated at last, hot and sunburned. 

I was left with an impression of community and friendliness, and the renewed conviction that this is one of the parts of Cape Town in which I would most like to live, given the chance. And all things being equal.

Which they are not. Of course.

But one can dream.


  1. Donatella Via ColoriDecember 16, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    That rosy background for the kiddos looks like your old terrace color. Such a happy color.

  2. So...the high-end design gurus can go away.This is how colour should be used!

  3. Joyous and delightful... and perfect use of colour!

  4. The buildings and their colors in these photos are so vibrant and beautiful - is this common throughout the Cape Town or only in this neighborhood?

    I've only seen such brilliant colors in Caribbean towns and have always loved to see this.

    Thanks for the photos.


  5. The colors are amazing. Is there a Council on Color? How does it happen?
    Thank you!

    1. I have not delved into the colourfication, Rebecca. Once upon a time the houses were all white. Then colour happened. Not sure whether it's a tourist lure, an orchestrated painting or a spontaneous expression.


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