A charming story about ancestry

My name is Ayra Anandra Kip. I am the granddaughter of Augustina Stamper and Cesar

Augusto Kip. My grandparents met when my Opa was in his early twenties. I don’t know much about their relationship, but what I did learn is that he loved my grandmother. So much so, that at 26 they had their first child, my mother Lydia Aisha Maritsa Kip.

I was asked to speak about my grandfather and share some of his accomplishments in regards to his life in sports. Of course (as a graduated journalist) I could not help myself, and dug a little deeper into my grandfather’s accomplishments to learn more about his life and career in sports.

So in conversations with my mother I found out some interesting things to share with you as we remember my grandfather, not just to honor his dedication to his life and work but maybe also offer a little bit of inspiration from someone who lived his life, in my personal opinion “out loud”, or as my mother would say, “unapologetically”.

So as I began my research; I did the simple thing and just Googled his name. Now mind you it is very hard to Google someone who has KIP in his name. The first thing I had to do is navigate and filter through a bunch of Kip recipes. Surinamese Bami Kip, Caesar Pate “Hondevoer” Kip. Caesar Salad met Gegrilde Kip €11,88.

Then I decided, ok, this is not going to work, let’s narrow it down to Cesar Augusto Kip, maybe even add, CURAÇAO…and there it was the first link on Google, historical records.

It actually took me to a family tree I had been working on for a long time, which most of it goes back to his father’s family, Duncan May from Curaçao. Duncan May was one of three brothers who migrated from Suriname to Curaçao in the early nineteen hundreds as the first engineers to work for Shell.

I continued my research on the son of this engineer, scrolling down through several pages. This one page which included records of the Dutch Antillean military stopped me. I personally do not remember my grandfather ever telling me any stories about his time in the military but I am sure there are many to tell. As I continued reading I discovered a short story about my grandfather and his fellow draftees. It stated….

“During the war years the government instituted a military draft system for young men on the Antillean islands. Most of them came from the islands Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. Several thousand men, served for a period in the SCHUTTERIJ. They guarded the strategically important locations on the islands, manned gun batteries, lookout stations and even served on warships.

The article further stated: “The sacrifice and efforts were crucial in the defense of the islands during WW2, and their names deserve to be remembered”. A wave of pride hit me; wow my grandfather was involved in WW2??? I never had this piece of information.

Cesar Augusto Kip STAMNUMMER 6079-Curaçao.

I continued my research and with the help of an online Dutch Antillean newspaper archives, I was able to find 227 entries carrying his name. My mind goes…”Jesus, Opa a sali den courant hopi biaha si”.

I read through a bunch of articles with the recurring  narrative: Cesar Kip loved sports with a passion. This man was involved in so many activities, from being an active athlete to serving on loads of boards and unions at the same time.

Voorzitter Karate bond

Bestuurder Committee Olympico Arubiano

Voorzitter Aruba Taekwondo

Bestuurder Aruba Sport Uni

Bestuurder ABB

Bestuurder Judo Bond

Voorzitter Aruba Tennis Bond

Voorzitter Aruba’s Olympisch committee

I read some of the newspaper titles.

“Aruba Jrs. Travel to San Salvador, for a small soccer tournament, under the guidance of Cesar Kip”.

“Aruba travels 50 men strong to Mexico for the Mid-American/Caribbean Games. Categories like fencing and badminton were being represented, with Judokas Alexander Maduro, Castro Perez and (of course) Cesar Kip.”

“Olympic gold medalist Anton Geesink the 10th-dan judoka from Utrecht visits Aruba (in the 70ts), “as he gets off his American Airline plane, he is welcomed by Aruba’s Judo bond secretary,  (who else… ) Cesar Kip.”

“New Life for Tennis Sports on Aruba”

A commission has been formed with R. De Graaf, Benny Gruzetsky, E. de Lannoy and Cesar Kip, with the goal to advance the sport of Tennis on the Island”.

And the articles go on and on and on.

My grandfather, Cesar Kip, travels the world for sports. Panama, Brazil, Suriname, Venezuela, the United States, Europe. My Opa has been all over the world representing sports …… but above all representing ARUBA in sports.

From local tournaments in Dakota to Olympic Games, and Pan American Games. Sport dominated the life of Cesar Kip. For his dedication he would became the recipient of many awards, medals, and honors. One of the most memorable award was the “Order of Orange-Nassau” or Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau, as it is stated in Dutch. The title was awarded to him in the name of the then Dutch Queen Beatrix for his contributions to society. What an accomplishment, we as family members, can truly be proud of it all.

Then there were his other careers.

First Elmar!!! Opa worked for the company as an accountant for many years. And as the story goes, he left Elmar “gracefully,” as my mother states, after spearheading a strike to provide better working conditions and salaries for kindergarten teachers.

My mother sends me a voice note this morning explaining just a bit more on what happened. I press play …“Opa had a contract with Elmar that stated that as an employee of the company you are not allowed to partake in any strikes. Going against what was stated in the contract, he organized a strike for the advancement of kindergarten teachers. It did not even have anything to do with his work or employment at Elmar. The strike was so successful that salaries were doubled and these women got a stronger voice in society. It was Opa who brought this right of speech to the community of Aruba”. My mother emphasizes the latter.

Opa was a true civil servant. He owned a refreskeria at the Emmastraat, worked at the Toyota dealership as a Salesman and later with Mr. Boekhoudt in Dakota, again as an accountant and salesmen of electronics. He worked with Mr. Boekhoudt until the store closed. “Opa was 74 years at the time”, my mother continued.

All the while he was also and always involved in politics. As he told me, he advised a lot of Ministers and Prime Minsters along the way. Opa loved a conversation about politics. I would go, “Opa, con ta cu gobierno”? And he would say something like, “ Well Mike ki tin un trabou duru, pero ja e ta logra. Or “Benny kinan cu e bentita di klinkers, pero e la limpia caya si”.

Opa was loyal to his constituents.

It made me proud to know that he was an activist and when I would bump into some of these politicians I could not wait to hint or sometimes blatantly tell them I was the granddaughter of Cesar Kip. I knew there was weight to his name and I am not embarrassed to say that at times, the association boosted my ego.

I remember the time I bumped into Prime Minister Mike Eman and he hugged me. I was like WOW, the MinPres hugged me. Thinking, he must know me, ’cause he knows my grandfather. It made me feel so special and proud. Then later I found out, Mike is a hugger.

But there was also the time my sister and I were invited to Aruba Huis in Den Haag and the Gevolgemagtigde Minister Edwin Abath welcomed us into his office. We were like; he probably knows …….and he did. He not only knew Opa, he respected Opa.

So many more instances like this occur, from regular folk on the streets to Customs agents. As my passport is being scanned I am asked the question, “Are you related to Sjors Kip”? Si Meneer e ta mi welo.”  Then the Immigration Officer would respond, “dal bai y bon bini bek na Aruba”. (In my head I brush my shoulders.)

My favorite experience of all times was when I was fundraising for Art Rules Aruba and I met this gentleman by the name of Jan van Nes. Van Nes or Uncle Jan as we now call him, was the General Manager of Playa Linda at the time.

The conversation went, the following

Me: Hi my name is Ayra Kip.

JN: Are you related to Cesar Kip?

Funny thing about van Nes if you don’t know him, you’re not able to tell, if he like you or not. He has this professional look about him. Anyway, we continue

Me: He is my grandfather.

JN: Your grandfather was my tennis coach

JN: Ok I will give you 4 rooms, for the teachers of Art Rules Aruba

WOW

I don’t know much else of the conversation but it took no more than 15 minutes. I got in the car and immediately called my mother to tell her laughing out loud,……”and then he said”.

My mother and I laughed for minutes on end, I am sure she was proud in that moment too.

I am happy I did my research on my grandfather and that I am able to share some of his accomplishments with you and that I have always had a sense of pride when it came to my Opa.

It is through him that I understand what it means to be a Kip, what the weight of a name signifies and what legacy it inspires: Cesar Augusto Kip. Danki