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January 02, 2013

2013 Cape Minstrels on the march – photos and video

A little minstrel boy sits in the crowd. Photo: Lynnette Johns

Playing popular tunes, Cape minstrel troupe after troupe walk down Darling Street in the Cape Town city centre to welcome in the new year, revelling in the perfect Cape summer weather.

The Minstrel Carnival is one of the most popular events on the calendar and is watched by thousands of people every year. It's also called Tweede Nuwe Jaar, which means "Second New Year" in Afrikaans, because it traditionally takes place on January 2. It's a tradition carried on mostly by communities who live in the Cape Flats suburbs such as Mitchells Plain and Athlone.

Many spectators camp out on the pavement overnight, setting up gazebos, laying down inflatable mattresses and bringing with them enough food to last well into the night, all to get a good position to see the carnival from.

The mood in the city centre is festive and the crowd has spilled over into St George's Mall, where sidewalk eateries are doing a roaring trade.

The day is also an opportunity for children to have some fun. Families are safe, with scores of security and police on duty. 

The Grand Parade is also a hive of activity with plentiful food kiosks open, selling traditional Cape Flats food, from boerewors rolls, to gatsbys (an oblong loaf, sliced open and filled with salad, hot chips, sauce and meat of your choice), curries and chip rolls. 

Watching the Cape Minstrels dancing, prancing, shaking and making music is hot, thirsty, appetite building, work after all!

The 2013 Cape Minstrel Carnival in full swing.

The Cape Minstrels giving it all they've got. Photo: Lynnette Johns

A spectator enjoying the vibe. Photo: Lynnette Johns

Minstrel teens show off their trumpet skills. Photo: Lynnette Johns

Gazebos shading spectators line Darling Street. Photo: Lynnette Johns

Picture friendly! Photo: Lynnette Johns

All the minstrels' faces are painted in bright and wonderful patterns. Photo: Lynnette Johns

Waiting patiently for the next troupe to arrive. Photo: Lynnette Johns

Read more about the tradition of the Cape Minstrel Carnival in our attractions section.

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