My recent blog post about colours above the City prompted me to write about “colours moving through the city”. The Cape Town Minstrels Parade is an event that has literally been moving colours through the city for the last century. It is one of the prime cultural events of this diverse city, full of colour, music and dance. In this time honoured tradition, numerous teams comprising adults and children (often from families that have been doing this for generations) with painted faces, dressed in bright, colourful sequinned outfits, march, dance and sing in unison, as they progress along the designated route. Each team accompanied by their own band also dressed in the team regalia, pumping out their teams signature tunes. Thousands of people line the streets on New Years Eve every year to witness this spectacle. The streets are closed off to all traffic, hoardings are put up along the pavements to ensure the Minstrels have uninterrupted access to the streets. These spectators come from across the City, and arrive well in advance of the parade too secure a prime vantage point to witness the parade. The streets are a hive of activity with food stalls, vendors, policemen, news reporters, family members, spectators, tourists etc. People that arrive early, bring along folding chairs, perhaps a blanket and even little makeshift beds for the little ones while the parents await the parade.
At the stroke of midnight, the parade begins on one end of the city, the troops commence marching one at a time, with each team stopping to perform in front of the eager, waiting crowds. The parade continues through the city and terminates in the Bo Kaap (see previous blog post “colours galore above the city”). The New Years Eve Parade is the commencement of an actual competition which is decided after many more parades like the New Year one, which is held in the following days and weeks. The culmination of the competition sees a winner selceted in numerous categories including best uniform, no doubt that the colours of which plays an important role in deciding who the winner is.
I waited for the follow up Parade later on New Years day, considering it was in daylight, when the Parade happened again, and made sure I was out there, camera in hand, to capture the colourful spectacle. These are some of those images……….. The journey continues…………………………….