Afrikaans teen lives minstrel dream

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CAPE ARGUS

George Rautenbach, 17, with fellow Santam District 6 troupe members Adeel Damons, Abubakher Abbas, Faroul Manuel and Shaheed Francis during a roadshow in Bokaap. Photo: Ian Landsberg

Cape Town - Face painted purple and yellow and sparkling with silver stars: a boy’s dream for 2014 has already come true.

George Rautenbach is 17, suffers from Williams syndrome, and travelled from Port Elizabeth just to be a minstrel in a Kaapse Klopse troupe.

It’s a moment he has been waiting for ever since he saw the Santam D6 Entertainers performing during halftime at a Stormers game at Newlands early last year. George was touring Cape Town with his school’s cricket team – as their water boy – and was captivated by the minstrel tunes.

“He saw us and wanted to be part of the Kaapse Klopse,” said D6 co-owner Nazeem Davids. “Without his family knowing, he contacted me, and I sent him DVDs of us performing.”

George has Williams syndrome, which means he was born with a defect to one of his chromosomes. It affects his heart and his IQ, and he will never be able to live independently. But George did not let his condition get in the way of his Kaapse Klopse dream.

“They said he’d never be able to read or write, but he organised this all by himself on Facebook,” said George’s father, Deric Rautenbach.

By the time George arrived in Cape Town, he had already made friends with members of many different minstrel groups, who gathered to welcome him into their ranks.

George was fired up as he joined the 800-strong troupe for the competition at the Athlone Stadium. The moment he couldn’t wait for was when “the crowd goes crazy”. Tongue out, knees bouncing and tambourine shaking, he fell in step with the D6 Entertainers. He said it was his best new year ever.

This year, George plans to volunteer at the SA Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre in PE, helping to save penguins in peril. But come year-end, the call of the Kaapse Klopse will bring him back to the Cape for another stint as the Santam D6’s most remarkable guest minstrel.

chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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