Renowned for being Cape Town’s biggest bash of the year, the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar or the Cape Town Street Parade sees the entire CBD shut down every January 2 to celebrate it. This long-standing tradition, however, comes with a certain cost: roughly R140 000, to be exact, as this was the price the City paid to clean up after it.
Tweede Nuwe Jaar goes back to the days of slavery, when the second day of the year was the only day slaves were allowed a break from work. On this day, people would paint their faces and make fun of others, and so a tradition came to life.
A lot goes into the preparations for this always massively-anticipated event in the months leading up to it. From work by designers, seamstresses, captains and band members, to choreographers and dancers, as well as all of the planning to get hundreds performers to and from practices.
But once the new year comes around, it’s all worth it, and the Cape CBD streets come to life with unique and vibrant performances.
This year, around 60 000 people attended the Tweede New Jaar festivities, bringing the CBD’s traffic to a stand-still while the thousands of performers made their way through the streets dressed in unforgettably colourful attire and walking bands played catchy classic songs that would stick with spectators for days to come.
Once the festivities come to an end, however, there is a huge amount of cleaning to be done. City employees take to the streets in the early hours of the next day to do the dirty work.
This year it cost the City roughly R140 000, due to extra staff and specialised cleaning equipment that was used to restore the street to its previous spotless condition.
Even though the Cape Town Street Parade is a beloved and long-standing tradition, many locals are beginning to wonder if it is worth all the congestion and the excessive costs of undoing the mess caused by it.