New Collection: Cape Coons

I’m happy to announce I’m working on my very first NFT collection: “Cape Coons”.

Click here to see the first pieces, soon you will be able to see many more (work in progress).

This fine art collection is about the Cape Coons.

Every 2nd January the “Kaapse Klopse” or “Cape Town Minstrel Carnival” (formerly knownn as Coon Carnival) takes place in Cape Town. The name Coon has been changed by local authorities to avoid offending tourists.

In slang Coons is extremely disparaging and offensive, a contemptuous term used to refer to a black person.

Despite the negative connotations attached to this term, many klopse still prefer to use this term even in the present day.

The Minstrel Carnival, as an organisation, dates back to 1890, but its social roots can be traced back even further to the colonial era in Cape Town.

Dutch colonialists first included slaves in their New Year celebrations in the mid 1800s, giving them a day off on January 2 to celebrate in their own manner. When slavery was abolished in South Africa in 1834, and the subsequent four-year ‘apprenticeship’ ended in 1838, Tweede Nuwe Jaar became a celebration of freedom characterized by street processions, music and song.

After emancipation, freed slaves and their descendants formed dance bands and were in huge demand across all classes. They played mainly European music, which they had learned from their slave masters, but later developed creole repertoires, mixing Eastern and European musical elements.

The freed slaves’ New Year celebrations, especially among people of color, were significantly influenced by American minstrel troupes who visited Cape Town in the late 1800s. These minstrels were initially comprised of white performers in ‘blackface’ who would impersonate African-American slaves by blackening their faces with burnt cork giving them the appearance of a raccoon. Humorous skits, the singing of ‘negro’ songs and playing of instruments such as the violin and banjo were essential elements of their act. They also wore eccentric clothing such as colorful tailcoats to emulate the upper class of society.

Within this context, they were referred to as coons, a racist term for black people, which became the local festival title (‘Coon Carnival’) for many years until it was changed by local authorities to avoid offending tourists. The carnival has also played a significant role in addressing racial tensions in the community, and provides all role-players with valuable skills and employment.

The carnival is seen as a celebration of Survival and of Renewal, celebrating the community that has survived slavery, segregation and Apartheid.

This collection is dedicated to all African people that have experienced slavery, famine and struggle from the colonialism and in many cases until today.

For each NFT of this collection, Angelo will donate 20% of the incomes to organizations such as TRKF foundation, to help kids with food, water, energy, as well helping them to learn and practice art.

For each NFT acquired you will receive an additional NFT from the local community that will be helped.


All images are under copyright ©Angelo Nogara