A multi-ethnic group of New Zealanders, taking their cue from the Cape Town tradition, have started their own “Cape Coon troupe”, calling themselves the “Auckland City Dukes”. Wearing modified minstrel attire and modified blackface similar to that of their Cape Town counterparts, the Dukes participate in the annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival and enthusiastically embrace the “coon” moniker.
The Auckland City Dukes, performing for Unity in Diversity, produced a CD, Tribute to the Springboks, with 4 rugby theme songs, as a fundraiser, and so far, they have established themselves on self funding. However, for the Queen Street March on New Year’s Eve Saturday 31 December, as part of the official launch, they are sponsored by the Dark Horse University to represent the Afrikaans, the English and the Coloured Southern African communities of Kiwiland – attracting about 24 000 people from all over Auckland.
Cape Malay, Ruthewaan Waggie is the CEO of the Auckland City Dukes project and Osman Abrahams the Musical Director ably assisted by Norman Murray, an exceptional solo singer, who has worked with Ruthewaan for ten years. Another key person is Brassband Director and Saxophonist Mr David Sigarmoney. In fact, Sigarmoney started the first ‘Klopse’ way back in Durban, South Africa. Their entire minstrel group consists of talented singers and entertainers: Clive Rinquest, Chris Lakey, Derick Wallace, Coby, Henry Goedverwacht, Treleuw Cloete, Cameron February, Riedewaan Ryklief, Riyaad Eksteen, Wayne Scullard, Julius Kirchner, Nazeem Smith, Jerome Pretorius, Joel, Stan Duarte and Allan Windvogel. Their youth section is headed by Muneep Abrahams, Kurt Murray, Rubin Murray and Clyde Lakey, who have the role of ensuring that the Dukes stay focussed on the local youth.
Susanna Kruger and her Kiwi husband Erin Ketel gave them the opportunity to promote the joy of living in a multi-cultural New Zealand.
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