Crazy about Cape Town Carnival

MATTHEW HIRSCH

Mother City residents and teams from all over the city are looking forward to a vibrant and colourful Cape Town Carnival taking place this month.

The seventh edition of the event takes place on Saturday March 12 at the Green Point fan walk with more than 2 000 costumed musicians and performers.

Giant floats, wacky puppets, and a display of speciality acts – each designed, built and choreographed specifically for this year’s “Street Life” theme will light up the streets.

One of the teams taking part in this year’s event is from Cape Town High School, which has 30 pupils involved. Pupils and teachers are equally excited about the event.

Vuyokazi Matonela, a Grade 12 pupil at Cape Town High School, has been dancing since she started at the school, and this will be her fifth year taking part in the carnival.

“It means that I will get the experience through dancing as well as seeing other people and cultures. At the carnival we have the chance to dance for people and I am happy to be part of such an event,” she said.

Vuyokazi, who lives in Nyanga, said it was a good activity that took place in a safe environment and kept kids off the streets.

She encouraged fellow pupils to get involved in the carnival teams.

“It helps me because we practise almost every day here at school. It helps me to keep fit. Where I live people are living on the streets. It’s safe because we practise in a closed area. It keeps youngsters off the streets and helps them focus on something that will benefit them.”

Her teacher, Buyiswa Mrubata, is in charge of both the choir and carnival teams at the school and loves getting kids involved in arts and culture.

“Many pupils are not good academically because of their situations at home. By coming here and joining the carnival you can see that smile and things you don’t see in the classroom. I can see that they like it and enjoy it. If I don’t call them during the break they will come and ask about practising.”

She said Cape Town High School has been taking part in the carnival since it started seven years ago.

“I really enjoy working with them in arts and culture. After each lesson I like to encourage pupils to take part in it,” said Ms Mrubata, who has been a teacher at the school for 10 years.

As well as the teams taking part, residents in the area say they are also looking forward to the event.

Jenny McQueen, chairperson of the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (GPRRA), said they were proud to be hosting the event again.

“There is great excitement all round. The arrangements regarding traffic accessibility were much improved compared to the previous year.

“And, judging from the arrangements which are already in place, it seems it is going to be even more streamlined.”

Ms McQueen added that there was always going to be an inconvenience for people living close to the hub of events who find difficulty getting to their homes.

“Those who had – or foresee – problems should contact the carnival organisers, who will issue them with a resident’s pass. I am sure the residents of Green Point and greater Cape Town look forward to this spectacular event and we wish the organisers the best of luck,” she said.

Ward 54 councillor Jacques Weber, described the event as excellent. He added that thousands of people attended the carnival every year.

“The carnival has developed and gets better and better every year. Such carnivals are seen around the world and it is fantastic that we have such activities in Ward 54,” he said.

Mr Weber added, however, that he received complaints relating to the traffic and limited access to the area last year.

He said that residents would be warned about the event well in advance this year, with signage going up at least a week before.

The City’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, Garreth Bloor, added: “This year’s carnival will celebrate our diverse communities and cultures.

“The ‘Street Life’ theme explores how people use public space and how they interact in those spaces.

Mr Bloor said 40 entertainment groups from communities and schools across the city will have their moment in the spotlight on the fan walk, including the Aphrodite Belly Dancers from Athlone, Lavender Hill High School, the Likwezi Arts Project from Nyanga, and the Phathizwelethu Marimba Band from Gugulethu.

The CEO of the Cape Town Carnival, Jay Douwes, said: “The Cape Town Carnival works with an extensive base of stakeholders made up of participating communities of performers, artists, media partners and sponsors to bring spectators an experience of togetherness and celebration not to be rivalled in South Africa today.”