- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Minstrels' parade through streets of Cape Town to start New Year
- Date: 7th January 2009
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 22nd January 2009 12:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Reuters ID: LVA9K19DMB1PVSYJYT8637FH8RI8
- Story Text: Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Cape Town to watch the annual parade of the colourful Cape minstrels, dubbed the 'Kaapse Klopse' which means 'Cape Town Coons' in Afrikaans.
The parade which took place on Friday (January 2) and ended the next day marks what locals call 'Tweede Nuwejaarsdag' or the '2nd New Year' in Afrikaans and is seen as a highlight on the Cape cultural calendar.
The carnival, included more than 60 groups of brightly-dressed, bobbing colourful umbrellas, most with painted faces and marching bands, playing an array of musical instruments who performed for cheering spectators including small children.
"It's a historical event celebrated in the time the slaves that was freed and they walked and marched through the streets of Cape Town, that's why we celebrate the 2nd new year but this year but this year it's on the 3rd of January," said Peter Jones, a spectator who came to watch the minstrels.
Local authorities have renamed the festival the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival as some foreign tourists find the term "coon"
But local spectators say the festival is a special tradition despite the controversy surrounding its name.
"This coons to us is a tradition that's why it's always special to us, ya. It's the start of a new year and we got to face all the new challenges that come in the new year then we are going to face it and if you go into the year like this, you go in this way then you lower each and every trouble in the world," said Goliath May, another spectator.
The minstrels are drawn mostly from South Africa's "Coloured"
community with its origins going back 400 years to Malaysians and Indonesians brought to the Cape as forced labourers and slaves by the British and Dutch.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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