Hentie Visagie and his sons, Johann and Kobus, spontaneously started to make music at home in 1969. Once the local community got wind of this, demand for public performances rocketed, and together with Nicol Louw, Hentie and his boys started Klipwerf Orkes in the same year.
Klipwerf Orkes went from strength to strength, and when Nicol Louw was forced to retire due to employment conditions, Kobus' brother in law Willem Nel took over for about three years. Abie Lourens in turn replaced Willem Nel, and played for Klipwerf Orkes for about five years. Theunis Nel replaced him in 1988. Klipwerf's first album recording was also made in this year. The second album saw the light in 1990 when Willem Nel rejoined the group. Hentie Visagie retired in the same year after 22 years as leader of the group. Edwin Bradley stepped into Hentie's boots.
During this time album sales went through the roof, and because of our unique style, so did demand for public performances countrywide. Since the very beginning we have used only eleven permanent group members. Since 1990 we have also recorded an album every year, and will strive to continue with this fine tradition in future.
In 1997 Pieter van Loggerenberg joined Klipwerf Orkes in place of Willem Nel. After Pieter passed away, Gené van Niekerk on keyboard took over.
After the tragic death of Johann Visagie early 2005 two exciting new members joined the band. They are Wernich Nagel on Drums and Johannes van der Colff who strums the guitar. So far they have proven themselves to be worthy members.
A rigorous performance schedule has ensured an average travelling distance of 90 000 kilometer per year, which has been accident-free so far. During the first half of 2000 we have passed the one million kilometer mark travelled since 1990, and we are now well on our way to the two million kilometer mark.
Klipwerf Orkes has earned several awards, among others awards received from;
- West Coast Tourism Buro
- Loeriesfontein Community
- OKTV Trophy - category "Beste Boeremusiek 1991"
How Klipwerf Got Its Name
Klipwerf Orkes was named by the people who hired the band. Klipwerf the farm consists of a farm school, post office and cash shop. Normal farming activity also takes place on the farm. The Visagie family farm - Middelwater - is situated close to the farm Klipwerf.
About thirty years ago the trusted old manual telephone exchanges were still widely used. The telephone company erected a relay station for the exchange near Klipwerf farm, and because Middelwater and Calvinia was also served by this exchange, any person that wanted to book the group for any function had to ask for this exchange.
The way to do it would be to pick up the handset of the telephone and crank the lever on the side of the instrument.
The exchange on your side would answer: 'Number, please.'
You then had to give the number for Middelwater farm: 'Klipwerf 1121, please.'
The operator would then connect you to the relay station, which in turn connected you to the instrument of the Middelwater farm.
So, this is how Klipwerf spontaneously got it's name from public use.