The Cape Minstrels take over the streets of the Mother City each year for the annual and historic Second New Year Street Parade, a colourful procession also known as Second New Year. Spirited cultural music and dance celebration explodes onto the Mother City’s streets in a flurry of colour, song, drumbeats and movement every year. The colours are bright and fibrant and the minstrels often end up being just ‘a face in the crowd‘ on photos of this even..
People line the streets from early morning, some even camping since the previous night just to get good spots. You can spend all day here as there are between 50 and 70 minstrel groups performing, each a spectacular show on their own. I squeezed in between some people and got to watch a big part of the procession before the heat of the day got too much for me. The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, consists out of thousands of members of the Cape coloured community who are divided into several well-rehearsed minstrel troupes.
This yearly parade dates back to the mid-nineteenth century when the slaves in Cape Town were given one day off in the year (2 January). To celebrate, groups would dress up as minstrels, waving parasols, strumming banjos and making merry with music, dance and a parade from the District Six area through to the city centre. Many of the songs still sung today date back to the 1800s. Aside from honouring these classic tunes, repertoires are also laden with interpretations of modern pop songs to keep all ages entertained.
It is truly a vibrant and cheerful sight. An event every Cape-Tonian should attend at least once as it is part of the history and culture that formed cape Town.