Everything you need to know about the Cape Town Carnival

The Cape Town Carnival, held annually in March, is a street parade that showcases and celebrates the diversity of Cape Town and South Africa. For several hours on a late-summer evening, more than 50 energetic and talented community performance groups, spectacular floats, giant puppets and extravagant costumes bring the Green Point Fan Walk alive, while thousands of spectators from all over the world converge along the 1.2km parade route.

The theme

The parade will unfold through various themed pods of grouped dancers, floats and puppets showcasing “Incredible Journey: Sounds of South Africa”. These include:

Footsteps of the first artists –  Our incredible journey begins by celebrating the world’s first artists which includes a giant eland sculpture inscribed with symbols and marks to suggest artistic expressions of the early Southern African peoples; sounds include a bow-harp, played by Glen Arendse of Khoi Konnexion, giving a feeling of being steeped in deep distant time.

DANCE! Energy in motion –a celebration of South Africa’s dance styles

Honouring our African cultural roots – we honour the incredible variety of African cultural traditions, identities and creative expressions. Each so unique and distinct, the float and the performance draws inspiration from isiZulu, isiXhosa, seSotho & Ndebele styles of dress, adornment, patterns, colours and shapes to construct a dramatic stage for this meeting of cultures.

Marabi Kwela: Sophiatown’s uniquely South African sounds and jive – Kwela and Marabi, emerged during the 1950s “Drum Era”, when traditional African sounds combined with jazz and the influence of visiting American musicians

Umswenko: Move to your own beat – A celebration of style and self-expression, Umswenko is a contemporary South African movement originally expressed by miners.

Music of the soul – From doef doef to pata pata, hip hop to house: this year, more than ever before, we’ll look at the sounds that inspired our nation and beyond.

Toyi Toyi: A call for change – There’s nowhere in the world where protest is synonymous with creativity and self-expression.

One South Africa – South Africa is home to so many beautiful, diverse cultures and communities from around the world. Each so unique and distinct but all with passion for creativity, music and dance. At this year’s Carnival, the Chinese Community of Cape Town will share the joy of dragon dance; Jhoomkar Traditional Indian Dance group will perform to traditional gorba music; the Portuguese Community of Cape Town will delight with their distinctive ‘bailinho’ inspired performance; and the Aphrodite & Northern Lights group will bring the traditional Middle Eastern movements to life through belly dancing.

Cape Town Carnival

Where & when

21 March 2020 at 7pm on the Green Point fan walk. The Fan Walk in Green Point is for pedestrians only for the event. The parade officially kicks off in the evening, and afterwards there is a family-friendly Carnival party starts. There is usually an exciting headline act at the Cape Town Carnival Village, followed by up-and-coming artists, and DJs. It’s best to get there early to secure your spot, enjoy food and beverages from the vendors, and have your face painted. The Fan Walk is a 2km long stretch offering many great viewing spots where you’ll be able to see the over 2,000 dazzling costumed performers and magnificent floats.

Tickets

The event is completely free, just show up in your dancing shoes and dress comfortably. Food and drinks will be on sale from various vendors. Seated and VIP tickets are available if you’d like to get a better view or seat for the evening

Community upliftment

The Cape Town Carnival brings the city together for a night of celebration, but the people behind the scenes work for a whole year to make the magic happen.  The event assists and encourages skills development in creative fields with hundreds of costumes being made and the construction of the massive floats. It’s a testament to the people of the city and it’s a great experience to see their determination and hard work really come to life on Carnival night.

Cape Town Carnival

For more information, check out capetowncarnival.comCheck out pics others have shared from the event, and share your own using #lovaecapetown!