Watch out Brazil, Africa has arrived! Last Saturday all the diversities that make us a proud rainbow nation came together in a professionally packaged gift, wrapped with the expectancy of the renowned Rio Carnival.
Granted, it’s not Rio yet, but there’s a genuine feeling that this has the potential grow into a world class event. It was exceptionally well organised, the timing was impeccable and the floats and performers were top notch: I was proud to call myself a Capetonian, and had to resist the urge to jump the fence, exchange my shirt for a sequin-clad top and join the electrifying throng. Whether you’re a crowd person or you prefer the quiet comfort of your own home, you’d have had to have had no pulse if you were unable to appreciate the sheer energy that accompanied this year’s Carnival.
Festivities started at 5pm in the stadium forecourt with a concert from Chad Saaiman and others while street performers entertained on the outskirts. And so started a tangible buzz of excitement that continued to build while waiting for the start of the much anticipated procession at 8pm.
With music blaring from speakers and massive screens strung up along the road, the first dancers and floats appeared. Still alive in my mind now are the grand display of the Spice Route paying homage to the strong Asian Masala influence that has long been part of our culture; the Flamingo Dancers’ unforgettable performance, courtesy of the La Rosa Spanish Dance Theatre that completed the Carnival mood; and of course the magnificence of the translucent Nile Crocodile that moved elegantly through the streets with the skilful aid of no less than 30 puppeteers manoeuvring this massive creature to the goose bump beats of the stirring drums. These were among my personal favourites but there were many more, each eliciting gasps of amazement from the revelling onlookers.
The magnitude, beauty and craftsmanship of the floats and costumes, and the dedication and high spirits of the performers all added to an awe inspiring experience that far exceeded my expectations. It was nothing short of an explosion of stimuli.
In celebration of the span of our African identity, Cape Town will certainly remain the tourism centre of the country. The Cape Town carnival is an experience not to be missed!
by Andrea Cibrario
The Cape Town Carnival took place on 24 March 2012.