The changing faces of the klopse: performing the rainbow nation during the Cape Town carnival
This thesis explores the embodied aesthetics of performance in the making of belonging in post-apartheid South Africa, through an investigation of the klopse, also known as Cape Minstrel and the ‘Coons’, which are part of the annual New Year’s carnival in Cape Town. For this thesis I use the word klopse to refer to the carnival troupes. I map how from its inception the carnival aesthetics changed and came to represent something new and different as the participants engaged with the changing South African and Cape Town society. These changes are explored in connection with both coloured identity politics in the context of the “rainbow nation” discourse and the efforts to represent carnival in Cape Town as a colourful event in a global city to international and national visitors. I argue that at the core of it is the issue of belonging which is embodied through the aesthetics.