WATCH | 'It's not a good feeling at all': Cape Town's beloved minstrel parade officially cancelled

  • The Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel celebration, hosted annually in Cape Town, has been cancelled.
  • After being rescheduled to 16 June, a decision was made to cancel the event as the country approaches its third wave of Covid-19 infections.
  • Organisers of the event are disappointed but said it could not be avoided.

For the Kaapse Klopse, the cancellation of this year's Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel celebration is going to be "a big miss".

"It's a reality. The pandemic is here, so what can we do. We're really going to miss it because it's something that we love. It's a big thing for us - practising and getting ready for the New Year's celebrations," Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association chairperson Shaheed Simons told News24.

This is the first time in decades that the event has been cancelled.

"Not in my lifetime; this is the very first year it has been missed," said Simons who has been involved in the carnival since he was a young boy. 

Postponed and then cancelled

Hoping the worst of the pandemic would be over, organisers initially postponed the carnival from its annual 2 January date to 16 June.

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Association director Muneeb Gambeno said the new date - Youth Day - was chosen because of its significance.

"There is some significance to the 16 June that resonates with our history, our people's history in the city and this country, and we made a decision that we would postpone it to that date," he added. 

However, as the country approached the third wave of the spread of Covid-19, the organisers were forced to cancel the carnival.

A loss in revenue

Apart from the community losing out on publicly celebrating their culture and tradition, there are economic drawbacks.

Gambeno said:

The carnival is a massive enabler from a socio-economic perspective. Lots of people benefit from the carnival - dressmakers, seamstresses, hat makers and people who supply other goods into the carnival.

For Simons, missing the carnival was something he could not explain.

"It's in your blood. I've been playing klopse since I was six years old. When someone takes something away from you that you love, it's not a good feeling at all," he said.

Simons said he would miss the preparations for the festival, teaching children how to blow trumpets and practicing the 17 items that made up each troupes' performance.

Up to 50 troupes participate in the annual showpiece that winds its way through the streets of the CBD.

"My favourite part of the whole event is to win carnival and to win all the 17 items, and I've won it four times already, and I want to win it again," he added.

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