As seen on IOL.
Western Cape | 3 January 2017
Cape Town – Thousands of people made the annual trek to Cape Town’s CBD on Monday to experience the Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel march.
Some families camped overnight, others since last week to catch the minstrels in action.
Fatima Jordan and her family from Kensington, including a two-month-old baby, had been camping at the Grand Parade since Thursday.
Nahira Sonday, from Atlantis, paid street people R100 a day to save a spot at the Grand Parade for herself and her family of 14.
The yearly parade dates back to the mid-19th century when the slaves in Cape Town were granted one day off in the year by their colonial masters. To celebrate, groups would dress up as minstrels, waving parasols, strumming banjos, making music, dancing and parading from District Six through to the city centre. Many of the songs still sung today date back to the 1800s.
Muneeb Gambeno, director of the Kaapse Klopse Karnavaal Association (KKKA), said he was looking forward to a successful, peaceful event.
“People are out in their thousands, they’re smiling and happy. Their smiles are indicative of a people who are saying ‘today we are bigger than our problems; today we celebrate community, kinsmanship, communal living and family’.
“People of Cape Town must come out and celebrate with us. We expect people to be joyous and to celebrate together. The city has gone to great lengths to facilitate this.”
Gambeno said they expected between 45 and 60 troupes from various organisations, including the KKKA, Cape District Minstrel Board Association and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association. Troupes range in size from 350 to 1 500 members. The Original District 6 Hanover Minstrels started the march at 2pm. They have been the champions for the last nine years.
Local comedian and radio personality Soli Philander marched with the Good Hope Entertainers.
When the troupe began its preparations, a friend asked him to join them.
“It’s been really great,” he said. “They are the best troupe ever. There is a family feel.
“I’m of the persuasion that it’s really important for me as a Capetonian to celebrate this occasion. It’s really special to be part of it on this Tweede Nuwe Jaar. It speaks to my heart in incredible ways,” Philander said.
The Juvie Boys celebrated a milestone in that it was their fifth year participating in the annual march.