Despite a last-minute decision to pull out of the Tweede Nuwe Jaar road march in the CBD, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association (CTMCA) believes the turnout for its own minstrel competition at Athlone Stadium proved the event was a success. On Monday, the CTMCA hosted a separate carnival at the stadium, after it withdrew from the traditional road march due to a dispute with the City of Cape Town.
“I think there was a rise in the numbers at our stadium,” CTMCA chairperson Kevin Momberg.
“It’s not that we moved the event. This is a normal thing that we do every year… the competition at Athlone Stadium. Traditionally on the first day of the minstrels, we go to do our competition because then we get judged for the best dressed team. Then the next day we do our march.”
The association withdrew its troupes from the annual road march to Bo Kaap in protest over the City’s decision to grant the organising rights to the Kaapse Klopse Karnavaal Association. Some minstrel supporters blamed the CTMCA for souring the festivities around the event, as the withdrawal of 30 troupes would negatively impact the roadmarch. Others believe it was a good move as the minstrels should not be dictated to by the City.Momberg stated that the big turnout was no surprise.
According to reports, while the event was meant to start at 11:00, spectators were only allowed into the stadium four hours later. Mayoral committee member for events, Eddie Andrews, said that police had closed the stadium’s gates after events protocol was not met.
“Police kept gates closed after several requirements were still outstanding. There were issues with the number of security,” Andrews said.
Momberg responded to reports, saying, “Initially there was a feeling amongst the people and leadership at Athlone Stadium that there were a few teams that participated in the parade and at first we wanted to have them locked out. There was a little bit of a hiccup with the security but afterwards everything was fine. There’s no negativity around that. It happened and then it went on and people enjoyed themselves.”
The competition is set to continue today at Athlone Stadium.
“We still going to do some of the items we did not do yesterday,” Momberg said.Meanwhile, some minstrel supporters who were in the CBD on Monday said there were less crowds than previous years, while others complained about the event ending earlier than usual. Some onlookers also said the wait between the minstrel’s performances was far too long, times up to an hour. Other people VOC News spoke to, felt the road march was missing its “gees”.
But Kaapse Klopse Karnavaal Association director Mubeen Gambino said they were happy with the outcome.
“People are in celebration mode and they have come to say ‘this is our event’. We are not going to be denied of celebrating our heritage, of reclaiming what is ours in the city and we are looking forward with a view of the past.” VOC