Cape Minstrel Carnival - Kaapse Kopse
The Cape Minstrel Carnival starts on January 2nd each year and kicks off a month long celebration of street parades, music, food and dancing. This carnival is one of the oldest running carnivals in South Africa and can trace its routes back to the 18th Century.
A procession of competing minstrel bands, complete with straw boaters and brightly coloured satin suits singing traditional songs. The Minstrel street parade starts in District Six and takes a route through the city centre. The various groups of singers, dancers and musicians take the event very seriously and all compete for the awards gievn out to the best performing troupes. The size of the individual troupes can vary from 200-300 all the way up to 1,000 in number.
The carnival is reminiscent of the New Orleans Mardi Gras festival. Over the month a number of mini-festivals take place throughout the Bo-Kaap and Greenpoint districts of Cape Town. The 13,000 performers attract over 80,000 spectators to join in this flamboyant event. While you are watching the events take place you can sample some of the local traditional food and fresh seasonal food.
It is said that the event was inspired by a group of musicians of African-American origin whose ship was docked in Cape Town in the late 1800's. These musicians used to entertain other sailors off the ships. The colourful performers of todays Cape Town Minstrel are more than happy to pose for you and your family so you can capture some lovely memorable photos. Throughout the Carnival the air is filled with the sound of banjos and the beating of drums.
Green Point Stadium is where the final judging of all the Carnival entrants takes place and is a good place to watch this colourful procession.