The City of Cape Town has pledged R6,1-million to the annual minstrel marches and Malay choir events, including the Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations.
Executive Mayor Particia de Lille says that the commitment is in line with council intentions to create “an inclusive city”.
The minstrel carnivals and Malay choir competitions form intrinsic parts of Cape Town history and heritage, particularly within the ‘Cape Malay’ and coloured communities.
Every year, dozens of ‘troops’ flood city streets, showing off their colourful get-ups and musical talent. Meanwhile, Malay choirs face-off to showcase the community’s most melodious voices and banjo-plucking prowess.
“Each year the events resonate with families and communities across Cape Town as thousands of people, including tourists, fill the streets to watch the colourful and entertaining marches,” says the Mayor. “The City’s support will also allow communities to showcase our rich cultural diversity, while creating employment opportunities in the garment-making, events, catering and transport industries.”
Gang violence and mismanagement have historically marred the image of Cape Town’s famous minstrel marches. Last November, a man was shot during an ‘illegal’ march in Bo-Kaap, although both the City and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association distanced themselves from the incident.
This year, funding has come earlier than usual, hopefully pre-empting any such incidents. “This is the first year that the City finalised the allocation of funding months ahead of the minstrel and choir events,” adds De Lille. “It will empower associations to plan better, seek additional funding, and grow more sustainable events in the future.”
The bulk of the funding has been directed towards the Tweede Nuwe Jaar event on the 2nd of January next year. City-owned venues have also been made available to organisations at no cost.