Friday, July 19 2024

Cape Town – Tens of thousands of Capetonians celebrated in the heart of the city as the long-awaited Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel march finally took place and bathed the city in an extravaganza of colourful costumes, brass music and slick dancing moves as only the annual carnival can.
It was the third time lucky for the minstrels after two previous postponements.
Spectators, some who set up tents and gazebos are early as Wednesday night, were not disappointed as thousands of minstrels marched through the streets of Cape Town late into Saturday night.
The day started with a bang with the D6 Hanover Minstrels, the reigning Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association champions, presenting a high-energy display of song and dance.
Then various troupes, dressed in colourful and glittering outfits, danced and sang through Darling Street.
They were showered in cheers and applause from the thousands of delighted spectators as they made their way through the city streets.
Kevin Momberg, chief executive officer of the Cape Cultural and Carnival Committee, apologised to spectators for the delay in hosting the carnival and said the minstrels would reward their patience with a wonderful performance.
Tweede Nuwe Jaar is traditionally held on January 2, which fell on a Friday this year. It was postponed as the local Muslim community held Friday afternoon prayers and celebrated the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on January 3. It was then moved to January 5, but cancelled hours before the event was due to start for logistical reasons. A blame game ensued between minstrel organisers and the City of Cape Town before a new date was set on.
Kamielah Abrahams, from Mitchells Plain, said the day was worth the long wait.
“The minstrels and Tweede Nuwe Jaar are a huge part of coloured culture and it just doesn’t feel like a new year unless they march through the streets of Cape Town. It is one of the few days of the year when the city really feels like it’s ours.”
Jason Thomas, 17, from the Bonteheuwel Superstars troupe, said he was happy that the carnival finally came together.
“We practiced so hard for so long and each delay made us wonder if it would happen at all. We can finally show the results of all our efforts and hope the people of Cape Town and everyone else who came to see us will be happy.”
The national Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, addressed the crowds and praised the Tweede Nuwe Jaar tradition as an essential part of the heritage and culture of Cape Town and all of South Africa.
“The minstrels were a form of resistance against colonialism and the minstrels were part and parcel of the struggle. Nationally, people must know who the minstrels are and what they mean to South Africa.”
Mthethwa had a sly dig at the City of Cape Town and said the carnival should always be held on January 2 and promised it would be “restored” to January 2 next year.
“We are a South African Heritage and will enjoy the day like our forefathers did.”
Source: IOL

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