Daltjies and Kapparangs: The viral video series poking fun at Muslims during Ramadan
Three weeks ago, before the Islamic month of Ramadan began, two young Capetonians decided to do something a little risky: make an animation poking fun at Muslims during Islam’s holiest month.
“It first used to be a panel cartoon, sort of like a Muslim version of Cyanide and Happiness,” says Yaaseen Barnes, a comedian from Cape Town and one of the creators behind the series.
The comics were created by Cape Town producer Malik Abarder, a close friend of Barnes. Before Ramadan began, the comedian turned to his buddy and suggested they turn the drawings into an animation. So far, four episodes have been released via the Daltjies and Kapparangs page on Facebook. Within 24 hours, the latest episode, released on Tuesday, had garnered 8 000 views on the social media page.
According to Barnes, the ticket to success has been the inside jokes within Muslim communities – particularly the Cape Malay community – that the series plays off. The group’s most widely shared video, Episode 3, is a parody of notorious reality TV series Cheaters, revamped into a Ramdan edition called Eaters. Enter the scene where a wife gives her eating husband a “samoosa klap” when he’s caught in the act, chowing on a chicken drumstick.
“We always tread the line of making fun of the people rather than making of the religion. That’s what we always try and focus on,” Barnes says. “It’s a story that we all know from the community. It’s also jokes that have been around for a while, and jokes that we come up with. We take concepts that exist and we just go all out with it.”
The title is a comedic nod to Cape Malay Muslim culture. It plays on the crispy spicy bites that usually take over part of the table when it’s time to break fast in Ramadan. Daltjies are a staple in many Cape Malay Muslim households. Kapparangs, too, are a reminder of Malay heritage: Malay slaves who first introduced Islam in the Cape wore sandals known popularly as kapparangs. Barnes also likens the title to a parody of luxury Italian fashion brand Dolce and Gabbana.
“We’re Cape Town boys,” he laughs. “We’re born and raised on the Cape Flats, it’s part of who we are. Cape Town raised me to think like this, and this is our way of giving back.”
Barnes helps out with the script-writing, while Abarder spends around four hours of every Monday producing the videos and editing at his production studio in Cape Town. The duo work with four other people, who do voices, puppeteering and contribute to the writing and editing. So far, Barnes says that the group have been working on the animation for the love of it.
“Right now, it’s a passion project. We make no money, and we’re just doing it for the fun of it.”
But the viral response the videos have had now has inspired the group to continue with it after Ramadan. Depite some nerves at upsetting South African Muslims by poking fun at them, Daltjies and Kapparanags has got a nod of approval from some religious elders.
“We just want to put funny out. We’ve actually had sheikhs and imams phoning us to say the videos are funny,” Barnes says, still sounding surprised at the response.