Minstrels take over Cape Town’s streets

6 January 2014

About 40 000 minstrels – or Kaapse Klopse as they are popularly known – took over the streets of Cape Town on Saturday as part of the annual Tweede Nuwejaar (second New Year) street parade, one of the city’s largest and most historic cultural events.

In an event lasting around 10 hours, the 75 colourful groups of musicians, dancers and troupe members danced their way from Zonnebloem to the city centre. Around 60 000 of the Cape Town’s residents and visitors cheeredon the performers on a sweltering day in the city’s centre.

While the 200-year-old event is usually held on 2 January – the one day Cape slaves were given off every year – it was moved to Saturday this year at the request of the minstrels to allow more people to attend.

Glamour

A stage was set up at the Grand Parade, where entertainers selected by the minstrels to represent Cape Town’s rich cultural diversity performed before the formal programme began.

The event attracts entire communities, including young children, all kitted out in glamorous outfits. “The various brightly clad teams carry a rainbow of umbrellas and some are armed with musical instruments, dazzling onlookers with toe-tapping songs and beautifully choreographed dances, preserving a custom that began in the mid- 1800s,” the city explains on its website.

“The Tweede Nuwe Jaar Parade is so ingrained in local society that some performers have been taking part in the parade for over 30 years, and are not only joined by their children but even their grandchildren for this extravagant event.”

The annual ‘Tweede Nuwe Jaar’ parade and the Cape Minstrels were part of the rich cultural heritage of Cape Town, Grant Pascoe, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing said in a statement on the city’s website.

“It is more fitting than ever to ring in the New Year a second time, as we enter the 20th year of South Africa’s democracy. Embracing our cultural diversity is an integral part of our commitment to building an inclusive city.”

City of Cape Town and SAinfo reporter