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TWEEDE NUWE JAAR

Cape Town minstrel troupes bring the music, dance and glitter back to city after two-year pandemic pause

Cape Town minstrel troupes bring the music, dance and glitter back to city after two-year pandemic pause
Gerhard Sheldon (36) pulls a face as he marches through the city centre during the Hollywoodbets Cape Town Street Parade on 2 January 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Cape Town’s annual minstrel carnival known as Tweede Nuwe Jaar was back in full force on Monday, 2 January 2023 after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. Between 60,000-100,000 people lined the streets on a swelteringly hot day for one of the oldest cultural festivals of the Cape — a day of music, dance and flamboyant costumes — which is deeply rooted in the resistance to the painful history of slavery and colonialism.

minstrels district six

The troupes congregated in District Six, from where many of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were removed under the apartheid Group Areas Act in 1950. They then moved through the city, ending in Bo-Kaap. The troupes aim to create cultural activities for youth in crime-ridden communities, providing an alternative to gangsterism and drugs. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels bayman

Nafeesah Bayman (16) was one of thousands of minstrels and performers in bright clothing, make-up and glitter, who marched through the streets of Cape Town entertaining the crowds on one of the hottest summer days thus far. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels leeman

‘We are here to enjoy ourselves and we’re waiting for our team District Six,’ said Shaahieda Leeman (right). She is from Strandfontein, but her family was forcibly removed from District Six during apartheid. ‘We come from Rose Street in District Six,’ says Fowzia Dollie (centre), ‘My granny used to stay there, but we were moved to Bonteheuwel and then to Strandfontein. Today symbolises belonging, because that was taken away from us. We’re here to enjoy ourselves and to be peaceful. This is our tradition.’ (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels crowds

Crowds wait for the minstrels to make their way through the city streets. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels thousands

Thousands gathered to watch the minstrels in Cape Town, on 2 January 2023. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels Bo-Kaap

Thousands waited along the route from District Six to Bo-Kaap. SA History Online dates the Tweede Nuwe Jaar carnival back to the year 1907. But its social roots can be traced back even further to those who were brought to the Cape as enslaved people.(Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels slave trade

Minstrels are reflected in a brass instrument during the Hollywoodbets Cape Town Street Parade. The carnival is one of the greatest lasting acts of resistance to the dehumanisation of the brutal oppression of slavery. Slavery in the Cape can be traced to as far back as 1652 when the Dutch East India Company settled in the area. Even though the slave trade was banned in 1808, slavery was still legally enforced until 1834, when it was abolished. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels abrahams

Dougheedah Abrahams and her daughter Aaliyah (3) slept on Adderley Street last night to secure their place for the festival today. Dougheedah said they felt safe in the city and were pleased to have a front-row seat for the action. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels adderley street

Minstrel troupes march down Adderley Street in Cape Town on 2 January 2023. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels cultural

The troupes, who come from all over the city, aim to create cultural activities for youth in crime-ridden communities, providing an alternative to gangsterism and drugs. There are about 28 troupes participating in this year’s event. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels

A tired member of the Original District Six Hanover Minstrels troupe is carried to Rose Street in Bo-Kaap by her mother. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels jinoo

Yusuf Jinoo (55) from the Original District Six Hanover Minstrels takes a photo with onlookers in Bo-Kaap on 2 January 2023. ‘It takes years to prepare, we never stop. This morning was a big rush to get our faces painted, it was a madhouse. My face took about an hour-and-a-half to get done,’ said Jinoo. ‘This festival is to bring people together, bring cultures together and just have a festive time going into the new year.’

minstrels streets

Crowds line the streets during Tweede Nuwe Jaar in Cape Town, 2 January 2023. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrels sound

Gerhard Sheldon, (36), Anthony Hufkie (47) and Deon Plaatjies (12) during Cape Town’s annual minstrel carnival, 2 January 2023. The sound of the carnival is steeped in the ghoemaliedjie, (‘ghoema song’) and the ghoema-drum. According to SA History Online, the ghoemaliedjie, and the dances and facial expressions used by the troupes, was satirical commentary on the ways and mannerisms of the white masters. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

minstrel troupes

Minstrel troupes make their way to Adderley Street during Cape Town’s annual minstrel carnival on 2 January 2023. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

 

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