Cape Town’s minstrels probably woke up to glitter encrusted pillows on Sunday after thousands had walked through the city belting out old tunes and showing off their shimmering dancing suits for Tweede Nuwe Jaar.
From tiny tots swaddled and sleeping their mother’s arms, to grandpas in wheelchairs – they all streamed into Darling Street in Cape Town, keeping up the age-old tradition of ”Tweede Nuwe Jaar” – or second new year.
It was not without its hitches, explained a groggy Kevin Momberg, CEO of the Cape Town Minstrel Association early on Sunday morning.
An eleventh hour security requirement for the council had led to the start being delayed, and some buses ran late, but eventually the spectacle was on the road.
According to Momberg, they had to have all 600 safety marshalls in place by 07:00, but this was eventually resolved, much to the relief of the spectators who had set up what resembled lounges in prime spots on the route to the Bo-Kaap.
Groups like KenFec dazzled with their precise drills, which combined tweaking drum majorette moves to match the hip hop beats of the snare drummers carrying massive drum kits from their shoulders.
Swathes of fabrics in shiny rainbow colours swayed as the groups danced down the streets, with some leaning in to the spectators to hug the grannies swooning over them.
“A seamstress starts on our uniforms in February,” said a woman in billowing royal blue and silver trousers. “They make thousands of costumes through the year.”
As the temperatures rose, babies were set down on mattresses in the shade, sleeping soundly through the walls of trombonists marching through.
Teams with mottos like “Be Unlimited”, overcome by the intense heat, gave themselves time to rest, sagging to the ground for a few minutes, and then, with the whistle from the team captain, set off again, banging drums.
Vendors selling hats and umbrellas did a roaring trade, but on the to do list for next year, will be to make sure more of the promised water points along the route function.
This year’s minstrel parade came after a tense period of accusations that money was being ill-spent by the association and tight-fistedness by the city.
The association eventually received R1.5m to pull off the spectacle, less than it had cost the city to do it, said Momberg.
But none of that mattered for the minstrels warning up at the beginning of the march.
Their biggest worry was whether there would be enough glitter to go around, and what to do about the uncle who had dipped into the medicinal bottle stashed into the pocket of his stripy jacket.
“I sweated my glitter off,” laughed an exhausted Momberg. News24