Political parties, the public and a number of local civil society organisations have expressed their concern for the future of the annual Minstrel Carnival after numerous glitches surfaced this year. The recent cancellation has also sparked widespread anger from Cape Town residents who regard the Minstrel Parade as a highly anticipated time of the year. Not only is it a source of entertainment but it also brings joy and a positive outlet to many youngsters on the Cape Flats. Therefore, it is those troops who have put all their time and effort into preparing for the event who are most affected by the recent debacle.
Leader of the Fabulous Seawind Entertainers from Hanover Park, Shahied Fisher says throughout the year, kids in his community are subjected to gang violence along with drug and alcohol abuse. However, they refuse to fall prey to those social ills and concentrated their efforts on both school and after school rehearsel sessions for the Minstrel parade and competitions.
“These children look forward to the opportunity to walk through the streets of Cape Town and show off their achievements to spectators. To learn how to play an instrument takes a lot of dedication and determination. At the parade, they get to show off not only their talents but also show that something positive can also come out of Hanover Park,”” Fisher explained.
“The little kids play “Klopse” in the street. They re-inact the theatrical performances and expressions of the Minstrel entertainers and often sing the theme songs which troupes practise throughout the year. The Minstrel Parade is more than just a march and competitions, it is form of expression for the Coloured community.”
While most troupes agree the initial postponement to accommodate the celebration of Moulood was something that had to be done, many say the fact that there had been no transport for them on Monday was something that had never happened before and definitely dampered the spirits of supporters. But one of the Directors of the Santam D6 Troupe, Nazeem Davids says while a new date has not yet been confirmed, the disappointment will soon disappear when the Parade finally takes place.
“People are upset now but soon their spirits will be lifted when all the kinks around the Parade are ironed out. This is a sought out event for many in our community. This is often the only extramural activity they are a part of,” Davids added.
“These children find a home and solace in the unity amongst the troupes. The annual event is very important to the kids and the broader community. There needs to be consistency along with a well thought through plan in organising this event.”
Since the inception of this long standing tradition in the Cape, locals now regard the annual festive season celebrations as nothing without the sound of the Minstrels marching through the streets of Cape Town. Minstrels prepare for their time to shine throughout the year. They design the colourful uniforms, and host practise sessions that often act as a home away from home for many youth living in poverty stricken conditions. While a final date for the event is yet to be confirmed, Minstrels say they are hopeful that the Parade will still garner much support from the Cape Town community. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)