The Cape Minstrel Carnival switches 2014 on for us

Cape Minstrel Carnival, 2014. Photo: Portia Butler
Hooray, 2014 has now officially been ushered in. Yes, how could you miss the 35,000 colourful - in dress and name - troupes of The Cape Minstrel Carnival? They have been around for some 200 years, you know. And even if you and I were not there on the streets of Cape Town, we were surely represented by the thousands who made it their business to camp out, along the roadsides, to support and cheer on the marching, dancing, singing entertainers.

Inevitably, whenever it is time for the Kaapse Klopse, there are many people whose backs start arching like feral cats. No purring... Just stifled shrieks: "It's really ridiculous, humiliating." "This is giving the criminal element free reign.." Blah...blah...blah.

Uh huh? Is this really the 'home for all", then? Why don't we just embrace the Cape Minstrel Carnival, like we embrace the CDFA Mardigras, warts and all, with its crowd-puller, the beauty pageant? Or, with our fledging Cape Town Carnival with its instant, import appeal, why are we not so vocal? See? We do have the capacity to be flexible and we can find creative ways to make this historic carnival more inclusive and appealing without losing its character.

So, let's loosen up. The minstrels with their mocking masks and jiving bodies are not targeting us now ( or are they?). I suspect one of their main goals on the day is to shut out all the other noises and just say:
"Welcome to Cape Town, let's see you smiling, put on your dancing shoes, Cape Town welcomes you."
Cape Minstrel Carnival 2014. Photo: Portia Butler


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