Thousands pour into Cape Town's CBD for Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade

2018-01-02 16:37
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Cape minstrels take to the streets

Minstrels have taken to the streets of Cape Town to celebrate the annual Kaapse Klopse festival on 'Tweede Nuwejaar'.

Cape Town - Thousands of people lined the streets of Cape Town on Tuesday to watch the massive colourful parade of minstrels take over the city for the traditional Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade.

"It's in my blood," said a beaming Nazzeem Simons of Manenberg, resplendent in a black and gold satin suit, with rosettes on his broad shoulders.

A supervisor at an electrical company, Simons has been taking part in the parade for 40 years, starting at the age of five, and he would not miss it for anything.

"It's our heritage. We are born with it," said Simons, the captain of the Baruch Entertainers.

Maud Cootee woke up early in her home in Bonteheuwel, east of the city, to knead dough for the big loaf of sweet yellow bread she baked for the parade. She packed slices of the bread in a plastic container.

Her friend, retired Buccaneer Shoes factory worker Frances Jones, was in charge of providing the apricot jam, which they would slather onto the thick slices and enjoy from their vantage point - a MyCiTi bus stop.

Home baked bread with apricot jam at the parade (Jenni Evans, News24)

Diana Stevens and her friend Nadeema Khan slept on the pavement for five days to book a front row spot for the family.

Sitting on a plastic stool under their gazebo while children snoozed on a large bed made of layers of duvets, was Zaine Hess. He and his two aunts take turns watching over the gazebo and he had just taken over from them.

"I grew up with this. We won't miss it for anything," said Hess.

He remembers "getting all dressed up" for the trip he first made with his late grandfather, Ibrahim Hess. Now it is his turn to continue the tradition.

Hess was looking forward to hearing his favourite song "Rosa" and his eyes misted over as he explained that it was a song "everybody knows and loves".

Diana Stevens and Zaine Hess at the spot they booked five days ago for the parade to give the kids a good view (Jenni Evans, News24)

The Lewises of Bo-Kaap were among the minstrels, making their way to the parade's starting point and threading their way through families on blow-up mattresses and camp chairs.

Michka-eel, Zaironiesa, and little Zara and Mumtaaz were already dressed up in the blue, yellow and white costumes of the V&Aers. With a tambourine tucked under his arm, Michka-eel would pass on the family legacy to the young girls.

According to Kallie Calitz, Western Cape manager for Bhejane Special Events, more than 600 security officials were lining the route, with police and other law enforcement agencies keeping a constant watch on activities to ensure safety on the ground and via closed circuit television.

The safety of stages and other structures would also be monitored throughout the day and vendors' permits would be checked.

Zaironiesa and Michka-eel Lewis from Bo Kaap with children Zara and Mumtaaz ready to represent the V&A-ers at the street parade. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Joseph Horn of Athlone was doing a brisk trade in fold out straw hats for R20 each and Ishmail Brins darted between the crowds with a tray of sour figs, selling them at R5 a packet.

About 50 paramedics and ambulance staff were also on standby to assist with any medical issues that might arise.

Standing at the start of the parade, near the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town Street Parade official Jonathan Cupido said thousands of troops would participate in the event, which comes with a history "of sadness and celebration".

Ishmail  Brins from Athlone and his sour fig snacks, at the street carnival (Jenni Evans, News24)

The parade stems from the days of slavery when slaves were given a day off for themselves. It has survived the era of forced removals that tore up communities and in recent years, in-fighting among organisers had also threatened to derail the event. 

But on Tuesday that was all left in the past as bright umbrellas and batons were twirled and the streets came alive.

"We are just celebrating what our forefathers have left for us," said Cupido.

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