03 January 2011

The Kaapse Klopse - Cape Town's unique carnival celebrations

Every year on the 02 Jan the streets of Cape Town, South Africa come alive when the city's mixed-race population celebrates the so-called Kaapse Klopse (also known as Cape Town Minstrel Carnival or the Cape Town Coon Carnival). Its roots go back to the emancipation of the slaves in South Africa in 1834. The 23min Al Jazeera documentary "Cape Town Carnival" follows two troupes through planning and practice to the competition phase, where they will compete in a number of different events, and passions run high.

1 comment:

  1. I live in Durbanville and arrived at the beginning of the Carnival, Somerset Rd just after 7pm with my wife and two teenage daughters and continued up the road to Hudson
    We saw that both sides of the street were full to capacity so decide to move on up towards the Stadium where we thought it would be less full.
    It took us 45 min to walk through the crowds to Napier which is just two blocks!
    We did not mind the crowds as everyone was in a joyfull mood but the problem was that we could see absolutely nothing.
    When we reach Napier we decide to rest up and thought that we would stand and watch a little as the first carriage went by.
    This is when I got angry as it was impossible to see anything, only the first 2 or 3 rows of people next to the road were able to see what was going on.
    I saw an elederly woman and her husband, both about 45 years old standing on a window ledge that was a meter high off the pavement!
    There were youngsters perched on top of spiked railings, some young children climbed up trees.
    Many people went into a shopping mall to stand on the 2nd and 3rd floors to watch from the windows.

    My dissatisfaction is not with the amount people – this was great, but with the organization of the City of Cape Town for not providing adequate facilities for the crowds to watch.
    Our family left the Carnival and we saw NOTHING!!!!!
    Surely the City knew that the crowds would be large and that viewing would be difficult, so why did they not organise proper stepped seating in the side lanes such as Napier, this would have allowed a large majority of the crowd to see the Carnival and would have freed the walkways.
    This is my first time at this Carnival but the City have hosted this before, come on Cape Town, you can do better than this, or can you?
    Dave McMillan