For most, the Cape Town Carnival is one spectacular day filled with an incredible parade, yummy food and a great party. For the people who are part of the event, it involves months of planning, creation and labour. With just over one month to go, we checked out the Cape Town Carnival base in Maitland to see what’s in store for this year.
Last year the organisers revealed the 2017 theme for the Carnival – AMAZA! Ocean Odyssey. Since then, a host of people have been hard at work in order to make the theme come to life. Carnival CEO Jay Douwes is especially proud of the human element of the carnival. As an NGO, the carnival relies on the sponsorships of both corporate and private investors and seven years since it’s initiation, the fact that the carnival is still going strong is proof at how much people believe in it. One of the best things about the Carnival, according to Jay, is the number of jobs it creates each year – up to 1 000!
Angela MacPherson, head of float building, and her team are in the process of creating incredible ocean-themed floats. Expect to see a seven-metre sea spirit inspired by African mythology as well as a giant squid attacking a sunken ship amongst 17 artworks. ‘The artworks are a backdrop to the people that perform in the parade,’ says Angela. ‘The story that has been mapped out takes us from the beaches into the water and, finally, to the depths of the ocean. This year has also been the greenest year we’ve had. Many of the floats have been remade or reshaped from previous years.’
In addition to the floats, two other departments have been creating their own magic. The costume and make-up department has dreamt up a host of ocean-themed characters such as mermaids and fish while the performers have been choreographing and practicing like crazy to ensure they don’t miss one step during the parade. The performers themselves hail from all across the Cape – from Gugulethu and Delft to Philippe and Hout Bay – and their participation and dedication are a testament to what makes the Cape Town Carnival so inclusive.
Alderman JP Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, says, ‘The carnival is one the most unifying events that bring together residents from across Cape Town in a truly inclusive manner. More importantly, it gives our home-grown community and school groups an opportunity to showcase their talent. Looking at this year’s theme, I am confident that revellers will be in for a treat when giant floats, wacky puppets and amazing speciality acts ignite the fan walk once again. Our support for the Cape Town Carnival forms part of our efforts to foster unity within our communities and to position Cape Town as the events capital of Africa.’
The Carnival is happening on 18 March 2017 at the Green Point Fan Walk.
Photography Annzra Denita, courtesy images