This is what you can look forward to at this year's Cape Town Carnival

Healing, social cohesion and African culture will be celebrated at the Mother City's annual carnival

15 March 2019 - 14:35 By Sanet Oberholzer
The first Cape Town Carnival took place in 2010. Last year, the crowd reached 54,000.
The first Cape Town Carnival took place in 2010. Last year, the crowd reached 54,000.
Image: Supplied

In an attempt to promote diversity, culture and social cohesion, Cape Town is gearing up for the annual Cape Town Carnival that promises to paint the streets of the Mother City with colour, dancers, music and moving floats on Saturday.

This year’s theme is Vuka Ukhanye: Arise and Shine! One of the organisers and head of float design and construction, Angela MacPherson, says humans need a wake-up call, but might need a bit of help with a call-out.

"It’s a call to Cape Town and South Africa to realise our own potential – because there's such potential in our people. It feels like the moment now; it's in our hands. We have to make the change and we can. We need to change modes if we want our species and our planet to survive."

MacPherson says they are not trying to replicate carnivals in countries such as Brazil, rather they are trying to create a multi-cultural South African version of carnival.

There will be plenty of bright and colourful floats at the Cape Town Carnival.
There will be plenty of bright and colourful floats at the Cape Town Carnival.
Image: Supplied

For the first time, instead of the normal cutting of the ribbon and fireworks, this year’s carnival will be opened by what the organisers are calling "Clearing the Path for our Coming Together", a procession that is symbolic of a cleansing ritual.

Conceptualised by Vuyi Qubeka, it is a healing exercise that acknowledges the past and the need to move forward together as a country through going back to our roots and celebrating African culture.

Qubeka describes it as a celebration of traditions. "All of us sharing space together, chanting together, sharing dance. It's a prayer, it's a song, it's a call to our ancestors. It's paying homage and respect to the earth. It's a moment to really remember who we are and doing that we can celebrate ourselves and each other and work towards social cohesion."

This year the Cape Town Carnival will feature a procession that is symbolic of a cleansing ritual.
This year the Cape Town Carnival will feature a procession that is symbolic of a cleansing ritual.
Image: Supplied

Carnival-goers can look forward to 14 moving sculptures, floats and puppets, including a 5.5m marionette puppet. About 2,500 dancers have been assembled from around Cape Town, each bringing their own style and music. Firemen, drummers and marching bands will also take part in the festivities.

While people are encouraged to dress up in participation, MacPherson says some - but not enough -  do.

The first Cape Town Carnival took place in 2010 and welcomed 11,000 people. Last year, the crowd reached 54,000.

• The Cape Town Carnival is free to attend and will be kicking off at the Green Point Fan Walk on Saturday March 16 at 6:30pm.

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