Carnival lights up the city

MATTHEW HIRSCH

The City of Cape Town is hoping its partnership with Rio de Janeiro will see the Cape Town Carnival become one of the city’s big gest events.

These were the thoughts of Mayor Patricia de Lille at the seventh edition of the event in Green Point on Saturday March 12.

The theme was “Street Life” and more than 50 groups from all over Cape Town took part.

“With this partnership with Rio we are building our event to become one of the biggest in the world, attracting audiences from all over the world. It is also about displaying the diversity of the people of Cape Town,” said Ms De Lille.

She said that last year’s event created more than 1 000 jobs and was a boost for the economy.

“They are building these floats right throughout the year. Permanent jobs are being created, especially among young people.” She said it was also good that schools and universities were involved in the carnival.

“It is a collaborative effort between the City of Cape Town and the people. The City of Rio has offered to help build our carnival, and that is why there are 30 Brazilians assisting us with advice on the floats and, to grow as big as them.”

The Rio carnival is a massive event attracting more than a million people to the city every year.

Cape Town Carnival creative director Brad Baard said the theme “Street Life” was about the people and dynamics at play in a public space.

“Towns and cities are built of people and relationships, not bricks and concrete.

“We all have different styles and cultures, but are connected by the vibrancy of the streets. ‘Street Life’ aims to make these invisible connections visible.”

Performers put on a display of colour and entertainment as they interpreted what the theme meant to them.

Firemen and the SAPS also made special appearances.

Jay Douwes, CEO of Cape Town Carnival, said: “After the success of last year, we were aiming to make this year’s carnival bigger and better.

“A goal we achieved with flying colours. Anticipation was high and there were more spectators than ever before – testament that the city loves this event as much as we do. It was a beautiful Cape evening and the Fan Walk was the perfect setting to celebrate both our diversity and unity.”

Artistic director of the Bridgetown Theatre Company, Theo Davids, said participating in the carnival was an amazing experience.

“One of the ladies in the team who lives in Heideveld said that the experience was life changing because she was trapped behind closed doors everyday in her community due to the gang violence in the area. It was life changing for her to do something like this. Our youth members felt very inspired and motivated to carry on going forward,” Mr Davids said.