WATCH | Meet the Cape Town family who paint hundreds of faces for Tweede Nuwe Jaar

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  • A Cape Town family paints more than 100 faces for the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade.
  • Ardiel and his two sons use glitter, airbrushes, and paint to transform faces.
  • The Adams family takes pride in being part of Cape Town's history. 

"It makes me feel proud, to be able to say that I am part of the heritage we have in Cape Town." 

So says father-of-two, Ardiel Adams, who has been painting the faces of minstrels for over a decade.

Adams first started by painting faces with black shoe polish and white paint. When the original white paint started peeling, he searched for a better product and teamed up with a make-up manufacturer to create paint that would last longer.

"I started using airbrushes to give a better look."

The Tweede Nuwe Jaar festival finally returned on Monday after a two-year hiatus, forced by Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. 

"The new paint allows your skin to breathe and acts like a UV protector against the sun," Adams explained.

Adams and his two sons, Zubair and Eesaa, were up before dawn on 2 January as they prepared for their first customers at 4am. 

"We normally take an hour to get the paint and glitter on. The earlier you come, the better," he said.

The family goes through two litres of paint as they prepare the troupes for the parade later in the day. 

"A face that is painted properly will be bright, shine in the sun, and get a reaction from spectators while parading down the streets of Cape Town.

"The art on the face is essential. The people must say 'wow' when they see the art. The detail of the art and the colour need to stand out. It needs to show off who you are," Adams explained. 

Klopse face paint
Yaaseen Khan pulls his face after feeling the airbrush on his face for the first time.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Klopse face paint
A member of the klopse waits for some glitter as he gets his face painted.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Klopse face paint
Ardiel and his two sons use glitter, airbrushes, and colourful paint to transform faces.
News24 Bertram Magas
Klopse face paint
Zubair Adams paints the face of a member of the klopse.
News24 Bertram Malgas
Klopse face paint
Amaanah Sampson (11) gets the final touches of her face paint done.
News24 Bertram Malgas

Nizaam Adams, part of the Players Inc Minstrels in Mitchells Plain, arrived at five in the morning to have his face painted. He has been coming to Athlone for six years already. 

"[This is] one of the best face paints you can get. You can sleep tonight and wake up in the morning, and the paint will still be on your face," he says with a smile.

After having his face painted, the next step was to relax for a bit before getting dressed and heading to Cape Town.

PICS | 'It's tradition!' Cape Town's Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebration returns after 2-year break

Trevor Mentor, a "voorlopertjie" (the drum major that leads the troupe) for the Juvie Boys told News24 that the Adams family is the best in the business. 

"On a day like today, you want to look the best, and you want to look the part. You want to be that face they put in the newspaper tomorrow, and coming here will add towards that," he enthused.

Mentor explained that once the troupe takes to the streets, it is about looking good and ensuring the spectators are entertained.

The Adams family wants to ensure that this tradition lives on as an integral part of Cape Town's Klopse heritage.

The Tweede Nuwe Jaar festival is an annual celebration that stretches back to colonial times, when foreign labourers were allowed to "relax" on 2 January.

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