Category: Juhan Kuus

Juhan Kuus – The Kaapse Klopse

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group of men posing for the camera, all are having a good time.

THE KAAPSE KLOPSE

He possessed a certain manner that inspired trust in his subjects, granting him the privilege to capture the intimate and up-close photographs you now behold.

A man with all kinds of connections.

Juhan was well known for mixing it with all kinds of Cape Towns locals. Being the inquisitive person he was, he would often befriend and get close to alot of the subjects he used to shoot for his stories. He had a way about him, that his subjects would trust him and allow him to take the very photos you see of his, up close and personal. A classic picture above, Juhan spending some quality time with a group of Kaapse Klopse or better known as the Cape Minstrels.

In the years following 1994, South Africa has gained recognition for its rich cultural diversity and heritage. In the vibrant tourist city of Cape Town, one notable expression of this diversity is the annual Minstrel Festival, which occurs on January 1st every year, known as Tweede Nuwe Jaar (Second New Year).

During this festival, thousands of people dressed in colourful attire parade through Cape Town’s streets as part of organized Klopse (troupes). They entertain the crowd through singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments. The Minstrel Festival has become an integral part of Cape Town’s popular culture, and understanding its history and significance within the broader context of South African history is essential.

Read more about the Kaapse Klopse here: https://www.capetownmagazine.com/kaapse-klopse


Man singing as part of the group of Cape Minstrels.
Man singing as part of the group of Cape Minstrels.
group of Cape Minstrels, signing and dancing together.
group of Cape Minstrels, signing and dancing together.

During the late 1990s, Kuus immersed himself in the vibrant world of the Cape Minstrels. These colorful and spirited performers, with their flamboyant costumes and lively music, captivated him. He spent countless hours documenting their lives, parades, and celebrations. His lens captured the essence of their culture, the rhythm of their songs, and the joy that radiated from their performances.

In 2001, Kuus unveiled his photographic series titled “Cape Minstrels Carnival”. The collection showcased the exuberance, resilience, and rich heritage of the community. Each photograph was a testament to their spirit, their history, and their place in South African society.

The images revealed the intricate details of their costumes—the sequins, feathers, and bold colors that adorned their outfits. Kuus’s lens also captured the sweat on their brows as they danced and sang through the streets of Cape Town. These were not just photographs; they were visual narratives that transported viewers into the heart of the carnival.


Cape Minstrels queuing behind a broken down car
Two women cheering on the Cape Mintrels sitting in a bus.
group of cape minstrels in a bus on their way to the event.
group of cape minstrels in a bus playing instruments on their way to the event.
three cape minstrels laughing at each other
Close up photo of two cape minstrels singing. Both are missing their front teeth.
crowd of by standers cheering on the cape minstrels.
Man painted in white crossing the photo whilst by standers cheer him on behind.
two kids smiling with their faces painted.
lady like man smiling for the camera, dressed in cape minsttrel clothing.

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Juhan Kuus – Christian Zion Church

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Man being baptised in river
Group of men baptising a man in the river in South Africa.

ZION CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Juhan spent a considerable amount of time going back and forth to document these gatherings and captured some truly remarkable images.


The ZCC, the largest and fastest-growing independent church in Africa during the 1990s, boasts an estimated 2 to 6 million members across 4,000 parishes. These devoted followers primarily reside in both urban townships and rural communities. The church is commonly referred to by its abbreviation, ZCC, pronounced as “zed-see-see.”

Juhan spent a considerable amount of time going back and forth to document these gatherings and captured some truly remarkable images.

Man dancing in the gravel infront of a group of men during a church ceremony.

Man dancing in the gravel infront of a group of men during a church ceremony.
Man in uniform posing for the camera in the infront of a group of men during a church ceremony.


portrait of a male journalist with a plaster and blood on his face.

Juhan Kuus

During the height of his career from 1986 to 2000, Juhan Kuus, from Estonian descent, served as the South African correspondent for the Paris and New York editorial offices of the renowned Sipa Press Agency. Founded in France in 1973, Sipa Press Agency was a prominent name in the world of journalism.

Kuus’s impactful works graced the pages of prestigious newspapers and journals globally, including The Times, The Independent, The New York Times, Paris Match, and The Los Angeles Times. His lens captured stories that resonated across borders, leaving an indelible mark on the field of photojournalism.


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