Cape Town’s reputation as a “party-town” will be put to the test on Saturday March 24 as one of the biggest parties on the events calendar, the Cape Town Carnival, will seek to animate the City. Because of the numbers of spectators expected, the extravaganza of colour and creativity will take place along the Fanwalk in Green Point.
The 2012 Cape to Cairo theme will take partygoers on a journey through Africa and its people in a visual and sound explosion of themed floats, each accompanied by a troupe of 150 performers and dramatic lead dancers. The Carnival will be lead by African Queens and end with a view into a futuristic Egypt.
“It may not be as big as the Rio Carnival, but it will certainly blow you away”, says Jay Douwes, CEO of Cape Town Carnival.
“We want the Cape Town Carnival to have a unique Cape Town and South African identity. This year we place ourselves in the overall African context. The Carnival truly celebrates this country’s unique cultural diversity.”
There will be nine richly decorated themed floats in the parade, each 5m X 7m, built simultaneously over a four month period. The creativity and hard-work behind these floats (they were made with re-cycled materials) is expected to yield world-class results.
Carnival costume design and production has been facilitated through a student design competition and collaboration between skilled professionals and community sewing circles and budding small crafting businesses to ensure that the dazzling array of dancers and performers sparkle throughout the extravaganza.
The ensemble of more than 2000 participants will be made up of performers from many genres; belly-dancers, gum-boot dancers, minstrels, puppeteers, hip hop, Spanish, contemporary and African traditional dancers.
All performers are volunteers who have selflessly committed to rehearsing with the Carnival choreographer and in their own groups for months to ensure the success of this event. A mass rehearsal for the Cape Town Carnival took place on Saturday at the Bridgetown Community Hall from 8.30am to 10.30am and Carnival Choreographer Bheki Ndlovu was relentless as he put the dancers through their paces.
“This kind of choreography with such large numbers is not easy, but I am happy with the progress,” said Ndlovu. He explained that the rehearsal was an opportunity for the dancers to gain a sense of their place in the Carnival so they have an idea of what to expect on Carnival night. “It’s going to be dynamic,’ he added.
The rehearsal was an opportunity for the Carnival team to meet some of the dancers, representing 45 performance groups from 23 communities across Cape Town. It provided everyone involved with that boost of energy needed to carry them through the last few days of preparation before the big day.
The Carnival will open at 5pm on the Fanwalk with street performers and a concert at the Stadium forecourt featuring Chad Saaiman and Friends.
The Carnival Procession will start at 8pm from Dixon Street and will proceed along Somerset Road to York Street with food and merchandise available for sale en route.
After the procession, DJ Dino Bravo will be spinning the decks until midnight.
This Carnival actively is free to the public and MyCiti buses, Metrorail and Golden Arrow will be running late to take revelers safely home.