Cape Town Carnival on the horizon

The floats for the Cape Town Carnival are being built at a workshop in Maitland. The theme for this years carnival is the ocean.

Green Point is gearing up for one of the biggest free events in the calendar year – the Cape Town Carnival – with more than
40 000 people expected to attend.

With just over a month to go, preparations for the carnival are well under way at the Cape Town Carnival’s workshop in Maitland.

CEO of the Cape Town Carnival, Jay Douwes, said it created 1 000 jobs annually and she encouraged the public to get involved.

“It brings together communities to create throughout the year. It is about getting people to work together across a very divided Cape Town.”

Angela Mac Pherson, head of artworks at the Cape Town Carnival, said “Ocean Odyssey” was this year’s theme.

“The carnival is a platform for creativity. On the night, that takes the form of dance and music. The kind of floats that we are making this year explores our imagination of the ocean. The journey goes from the surface to the depths of the ocean where our imaginations run wild.”

Designers from different communities are helping create the floats. “We want input from the whole of Cape Town,” she said.

One of the show-stoppers is likely to be a 20m-long float of a giant squid.

The floats are made from recycled materials and take between three and ten weeks to build.

Lebohang Litsili is in the fabrication and sculpture department. He’s been working with the carnival for five years and before that the Sunnydale resident worked for the Johannesburg Carnival.

“A float takes more than two months to produce from the concept stage to the carnival. It is a long process. I’m excited about it and always look forward to seeing how the people react to it,” he said.

Unathi Bango, from Khayelitsha, has performed in the carnival for four years, starting when she was 16.

“I love everything about the Carnival. I saw it on TV, and I told myself that I wanted to join. It’s very good, and I would encourage young people to join. I am at varsity now, and when I go for an interview and tell them I am part of Cape Town Carnival it is an advantage because it is a non-profit.”

JP Smith, mayoral committee for safety and security, said the carnival was a unifying force in the city that helped to show off young, home-grown talent. “I am confident that revellers will be in for a treat when giant floats, wacky puppets and amazing speciality acts ignite the fan walk once again,” he said.

Jenny McQueen, chairwoman of the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (GPRRA), said there had been some petty crime linked to the carnival in the past, but most people in the area supported the event.

“Yes there is considerable traffic chaos – so best that residents walk down and join in the fun, or just stay home. There have been issues of pick-pocketing which happens wherever there are crowds of people in close proximity to each other. We advise everyone to be vigilant and not carry unnecessary easily accessible items on them.”

The Cape Town Carnival takes place in Green Point on Saturday March 18.