The Cape Town Carnival plays a vital role in bringing people together in many communities throughout the Western Cape, with citizens from disparate demographic and regional groups collaborating before and during the annual spectacle. More than 1500 performers in 43 performing groups from 27 different areas participate in the Cape Town Carnival – a living example of how an event of this kind can break down social barriers and help to form lasting relationships. “Social cohesion has always been at the forefront of our vision for the carnival,” confirms Rachel Jafta, chairperson of the Cape Town Carnival Trust.
Bob van Dijk, CEO of multinational media group Naspers, which is a sponsor of the event, says, “The participating communities are broad and inclusive, and seeing the far-reaching positive impact that the Cape Town Carnival has on their lives is what makes this event so important to us as a sponsor. This is something that’s very close to our hearts because our roots are in South Africa, and we’re proud to be able to contribute to the Cape Town Carnival.”
The Cape Town Carnival also plays a significant role for the region’s youth, with 70% of participants aged between 16 and 25. The carnival encourages their freedom of expression and celebration of their personal and communal identities. “The Cape Town Carnival provides a platform for youth in the Western Cape to become empowered, building their confidence and supporting skills development to enter the job market,” says Anroux Marais, Western Cape Minister of Arts and Culture.
Job creation is indeed an important component of the event. “Over a thousand individuals get part-time and contract work for the Cape Town Carnival, and almost half of those are women,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of M-Net, another sponsor of the event. Noting that women play an important role in facilitating positive change in their families and within their communities, Phahle adds, “We at M-Net know the integral role of women in social transformation.”
The Cape Town Carnival 2018 theme is “Mother City, Mother Nature”, one that Cape Town Carnival CEO Jay Douwes notes is particularly relevant. “When we choose our theme, it’s not only about the wow factor; it’s also meant to highlight issues that are facing us and the city as a whole, and to educate both the public and the communities involved in the carnival about these issues.” Ald. JP Smith says “We appreciate that this year and last year’s theme highlights the water crisis facing our city and as a partner we can use this platform to educate all involved on how to save water and work together through this crisis. Aside from creating jobs, celebrating Cape Town and having fun, the main achievement of the Carnival is bringing people together and reminding us that we are all Capetonians and are united in our love for our City.”
Sponsors of the Cape Town Carnival event include the National Department of Arts and Culture, M-Net, DStv, the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, Tsogo Sun and Kfm.