Cape Minstrel Carnival 2018
New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate the oncoming year with comittments to vague resolutions, several glasses of champagne and dancing the night away.
New Year's day and the days following, sees many a reveller nursing hangovers from the jubulant festivities opting to stay inside and avoid the sunlight at all costs. Not Capetonians, that is.
Every year Cape Town residents are treat to the annual Cape Minstrel Carnival, a feast for the senses with its vibrant colours, festivities and harmonious music - a cultural spectacular sure to catch the attention of both locals and tourists.
The Cape Minstrels, also known as the Kaapse Klopse, come out in scores, immaculately dressed in their iconic minstrel outfits, and parade through the streets of Cape Town, starting in Zonnebloem (once known as District 6) before making their way through the Cape Town central business district, all the while singing and playing an assortment of musical instruments from drums and trumpets to tambourines.
Dating back to nearly 200 years, the carnival is one of Cape Town's oldest surviving events with roots in mid-19 century - a time where slavery was still in its prime. The day after new years, 2nd January, the Malay slaves were given a day of rest and it is for this reason that the carnival is called Tweede Nuwe Jaar (2nd new year).
The event was celebrated in much the same way as it is now – the slaves would dress up and entertain themselves with music, and although slavery has been abolished in South Africa, the Cape Minstrels are still an important part of Cape Town's heritage, as are some of the songs they sing, which are up to 200 years old! You can also expect interesting versions of modern pop songs.
Witnessing the parade is a veritable cultural feast as competing minstrel groups, comprising members of all ages, from littlies to teens, young adults and decidedly greying members wow the crowds in unbelievably gaudy attire. Silky, brightly-coloured suits are accessorised with hats, parasols and of course, instruments.
The varying groups sing and play it out for the prestigious awards of best singer, best marching band, most flamboyant performance and best dressed troupe and the competitive edge only makes for an even more memorable experience!
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