Rival minstrel groups proud of their success

As seen on IOL.

Western Cape | 4 January 2017
Saarah Survé

Cape Town – Despite the bickering between the Klaapse Klopse Karnival Association (KKKA) and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA) in the lead-up to the Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel march, both organisations declared their events a success.

KKKA director Muneeb Gambeno said the traditional parade through the city centre was a big success.

“We started within a 40-minute period, which is a success compared to other years, and we officially finished in front of City Hall at 7.30pm. The last troupe was there at 11.30pm.

“We worked well with law enforcement and service providers. There has only been positive feedback.”

Gambeno said the KKKA will try to be bigger and better next year.

“We will apply for the tender for next year. It’s an arms-length process, but everyone has to.”

The process is easier if you are compliant, said Gambeno.

Kevin Momberg, CTMCA chief executive, said their competition held at the Athlone Stadium went off smoothly.

Last week, Momberg withdrew his troupes (totalling about 5 0000 members) from the march over the awarding of the hosting rights to the KKKA.

“All the teams were there, only three or four joined the parade in Cape Town.

“We are satisfied, but we are taking the city to court.”

Despite Momberg also levelling allegations against the city council over security certificates, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development Eddie Andrews said he was not aware of any legal action that had been taken against the city.

Andrews said he was only aware of a delay and a security issue with the police, saying there were not enough marshals at the stadium.

Andrews said some of Momberg’s troupes from the CTMCA were welcomed at the traditional street parade in the CBD.

Momberg said he would like to see next year’s event become more inclusive, for the different minstrel associations to work more closely together and for the city to act as an “enabler”.

See the article here. 


Minstrels do Cape Town proud

As seen on IOL.

Western Cape | 3 January 2017
Saarah Survé

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.

See the article here. 

Free Concert draws large crowd

As seen on IOL.

#CTIJF 2017 | 29 March 2017
Yasmine Jacobs and Saarah Survé

Cape Town – Families came in their numbers, with their camping chairs, to Greenmarket Square to listen to the amazing line-up on Wednesday.

The MCs shared some banter with the crowd before the Free Community Concert kicked off.

The All Star Band started the festivities. The bandmembers are all younger than 18. They ended their performance with the song “Weekend Special”, much to the delight of the lively audience.

Sounds of approval could be heard.

“How many of you believe in Cape Town talent?” the MCs asked the crowd.

The Sactwu’s Got Talent Winner 2017, Danielle Jacobs, then took to the stage with  back-up dancers.

See the article and my photographs here.


Free Concert 2017 sets the mood for Jazz Fest

As seen on IOL.

#CTIJF 2017 | 29 March 2017
Yasmine Jacobs and Saarah Survé

Cape Town – “It should be called the people’s concert.”

These were the words of Billy Domingo, the festival director of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, at the Free Community Concert on Greenmarket Square.

He explained that because so many people from all walks of life come to this concert, it should be dubbed as such. And one could see the diversity in the crowd.

After singing an original tune, VuDu seemed happy to touch down in Cape Town from Port Elizabeth.

“It’s an absolute dream,” the lead singer, Sisanda Myataza, said enthusiastically, just before breaking into another original hit.

The Free Community Concert promised to feature internationally acclaimed artists such as En Vogue and fan-favourites Mango Groove.

With the Free Community Concert being a success, one can expect nothing short of wonders at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival this weekend.

See the article and my photographs here. 

SA meets India

As seen on IOL.

Special Features | 30 March 2017

Yasmine Jacobs and Saarah Survé

Cape Town – When you combine the sounds of South Africa and India, one cannot predict the end result.

The answer lies in the combined sound of Deepak Pandit, Ranjit Barot and Marcus Wyatt.

“The idea is that it should be blending nicely… The idea is that two different musics when played together should sound like one piece of music,” said Pandit, at a press conference for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival on Thursday.

Wyatt joined in on this point and added, “It’s not super easy because stylistically we come from quite different worlds.”

They have been rehearsing for a few days and what they have found is a commonality.

“I believe the point of this (collaboration) is to have some sort of ‘cross-pollination’ of sound and style from the two countries.”

Wyatt reiterated that this is easier said than done. “Some styles of music blend easier than others and I have always been a musician that is up for a challenge.”

Barot chimed in: “I think it all begins with a willingness to have a dialogue… I think that there is a place where all people, all cultures, all genders meet. It’s a neutral, magical place where you stop defining yourself by everything that has been imposed on you in this life. “

See the article here.

STTA introduces ‘next-level’ electro

As seen on IOL.

Special Features | 30 March 2017

Yasmine Jacobs and Saarah Survé

Cape Town – STTA (better known as Sampling Through The Ages) is promising ‘next-level’ music at Cape Town International Jazz Festival this year.

Forget all you know about DJ’s, mixing beats, MPCs and electro.

“The best way I can describe our sets is a DJ set being performed live. We take on popular music in itself and remix and rearrange it in front of you and give it our own twist,” said Joshua Zacheus, the band’s drummer, vocalist and musical director.

STTA is a local live concept band that can formulate their music to the preferences. They consist of a drummer, two turntablists, three live beat machine samplers, one versatile vocalist/hypeman and a collective of “industry-recognised” guest features.

Festival-goers can expect a tribute to a number of musicians who passed away last year in STTA’s set.

The band opens the Bassline stage on Friday, March 31.

See the article here.

Day 1 as a Cape Argus intern

I had no idea what to expect on my first day at the Cape Argus, but was pleasantly surprised when I was tasked with covering the Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel march. The march takes place every year on the 2nd of January and has its traditions in slavery in the Cape.

In the nineteenth century, slaves in Cape Town were given one day off in the year (2 January). On this day, they dressed in fancy costumes and sang and danced through the streets. Some of those songs can still be heard at the parade today.

All of the photos below were taken by me.

All set up for the march at the Grand Parade.
Waiting patiently for the minstrels at the Grand Parade.
The Original District 6 Hanover Minstrels were the first troupe in the procession. They have been the champions for the past nine years.
A member of the Original District 6 Hanover Minstrels.
Two young members of the Juvie Boys.
The Juvie Boys celebrated their fifth year at the minstrel march.
A young minstrel looks bewildered as he marches through the parade.

Click on this link to read my article, which appeared in the Cape Argus on 3 January: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/pics-minstrels-do-cape-town-proud-7317114