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Cape Town Minstrel Carnival 2014

December 30, 2013

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Each New Year, the ‘Kaapse klopse’ take to the streets for the Cape Minstrel Carnival, Cape Town’s longest-running street party. The event has become a Cape Town institution with its history originating in the 19th century when slaves were given their one day off on the 1st of January.

Now, thousands of costumed performers from local communities, dressed as minstrels and waving parasols, dance and sing their way from Zonnebloem, (formerly District Six the residence of the old slaves), through the city centre. The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival is an explosion of colour, music, movement as the New Year is celebrated and the rich culture of Cape Town commemorated.

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Legend has it that the carnival was influenced by a group of African-American musicians who docked in Cape Town in the late 1800s and entertained sailors with their spontaneous performances. Many tunes you will hear played during the parade are more than 200 years old, although you’re sure to hear pop songs and local interpretations of modern music too. The song-and-dance troupes involved take the event very seriously – some start practicing up to six months in advance – and there are prizes for the most flamboyant performance, the best-dressed troupe, the best singer and the best band.

Traditionally, the Minstrel Parade is celebrated on Tweede Nuwejaar, the 2nd January, however, this year the spectacle will be taking place on Saturday 4th January to accommodate Muslim visitors and residents who celebrate a holy night on the 2nd. With 2014 being the year of design and creativity, this day is a guaranteed showcase of creativity and originality.

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