Cape Town Coon Carnival 2012

The Twist Minstrels Carnival

The Carnival runs for 2 months, culminating in the annual Cape Twist Minstrels Carnival, which takes place on “Tweede Nuwe Jaar” – 2nd January each year.

For the months leading up to the 2nd January, the many Minstrels ‘Troops’ come together at different stadia in the Western Cape to compete against each other for various accolades and the right to join the carnival march through the Streets of Cape Town when the community celebrates freedom in the mother city and livens the streets of Cape Town with song and dance.

PenBev is proud to support these events through product sampling at the stadia and along the route on the day, as well as logistical support.

Minstrels on old route

As the Cape Minstrels gear up for their annual colourful procession through the city’s streets, organisers are happy that they will be able to follow the traditional route which they were not allowed to do for the last few years. Increased logistical support from the City of Cape Town has made the annual cultural event much smoother, said Kevin Momberg, spokesperson for the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA).

The minstrels will take the traditional route on Monday 2nd January 2012, commonly referred to as the Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations. “We will be walking from Keizergracht Street, up Darling Street, into Adderley Street, then into Wale Street up into the Bo-Kaap and then down Rose Street. We will get into the buses and proceed to our various destinations. We are very happy to be able to take our old route again,” he told VOC Breakfast Beat.

The minstrel organisations have about 20,000 members, adding that this year the march will be done with a lot more discipline and planning, compared to previous years. “We explained what improvements can be made in future and this is a pilot project which we are also looking forward to. We want to stay within the timeframes agreed upon by the City, Province, the Bo-Kaap Residents Association and the minstrels.”

He dismissed claims about the apparent complaints lodged by a masjied in the area. “This was an isolated incident, and we believe it was not even an incident which took place in the manner in the way people said. People obviously have the right to oppose things, but at the end of the day it is a tradition which has been taking place for years.” Momberg compared Bo-Kaap to other places in the Cape who also have to deal with the minstrels during this time of the year.

“If you look at other places such as Athlone, not all of the people like sport or the minstrels, but they are staying close to the stadium and accept that they will proceed through the area.” He agreed that in the past, road marches got out of hand as minstrels would walk in the early hours of the morning. However, with the new partnership with the City, they are re-assessing the timing and conditions. “We want a march which will benefit all the people, even those who are against it. When they open their eyes at 9pm or 10pm we will be gone.”

Momberg said they are getting help from the City to a certain extent, but the contribution given to the minstrels and Malay Choirs is not cash. “The contribution is for logistical support by traffic officials and police. We also need to pay for the fencing, presence of medical teams and toilets. The money does not come to us per se…” He said City allocated R105,000 for their organisation, but their bill for the Athlone Stadium is R165,000 for the duration of the competition.

“We had to add something on at the stadium called pitch protection, because the stadium pitch has to meet world cup standards. There are still some hidden costs which we have to see to, although we appreciate the city’s contribution and are not ungrateful. The City is not coming to the party and assisting us, and still making our lives a little difficult.” Momberg added that they have to bring funds in somehow, but cannot charge people too much to attend the event at the Athlone Stadium. “We have to cover our costs our costs somehow. Entrance fee at the gates is R30 for adults and R15 for children.”
Court settlement

The concessions came about after aggrieved minstrel groups took MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Ivan Meyer to court a few months ago for promises the provincial department allegedly did not fullfil. “At the end of the day, not even a month into the proceedings they (the province) answered our affidavit, by saying they got legal advice from their lawyers to withdraw from the case,” he recalled. “The City was the second respondent, so they asked us to engage with them, on the way forward.”

Momberg said the annual carnival would be very different this year as things have been improved for the future of the minstrels. Momberg said contrary to what Dr Meyer stated, the Bo-Kaap Residents Association supported the cause. “Dr Meyer said the people of the Bo-Kaap did not want us there, but they showed him differently. They were the applicants with us in the case to support us in our endeavor to go through the Bo-Kaap.” The minstrels’ main demand was that the Tweede Nuwe Jaar march, should take place on a Monday if the day falls on a Sunday.

“We even took it further, we said if the day falls on a Friday, which is also a religious day, the march must take place the next day (Saturday), not after Jumuah,” adding that the group would respect religious sensitivities. Momberg said all the issues were agreed to under the chairpersonship of a Constitutional Court Judge which gave credibility to the whole process. “It was unlike previous years, when the City just said ‘yes’ and nothing happened.” VOC (Aqeelah Bawa)

SOURCE : DAILY VOICE newspaper : p11, wed, 28 dec 2011

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