Media Alert: Historic Pledge to Minstrels, Malay and Christmas Choirs
On 17 November 2014, City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille and the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport Dr Nomafrench Mbombo signed a historic pledge of financial and other support to the Minstrels, Malay and Christmas Choirs.
For the first time ever, this festive season’s minstrel carnival through the streets of the city will be run by the minstrels themselves. Dr Mbombo stressed how fundamentally important it is to preserve the Western Cape’s culture and heritage. Among other things, this gives the so-called “lost generation” a sense of belonging to a culture that is a source of pride. She emphasised the importance of giving the minstrel groups the opportunity to showcase their talents and motivate the youth to get involved.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) has promised its support by facilitating, regulating and supporting the newly-formed Cape Cultural Event and Carnival Committee. DCAS has pledged an amount of R2.37m to support events that take place until April 2015.
“We are only the facilitators in this process, and we urge citizens to express themselves through the arts and their culture,” said DCAS Director for Arts, Culture and Language, Jane Stuurman-Moleleki. “We will give the committee ownership of staging its own events but will still be there to support members and give them the necessary tools to make it work. Culture is embedded in the search for ‘who am I?’ We need to preserve the heritage of Tweede Nuwe Jaar. Historically, this was the only day the slaves were allowed to be free and express themselves through song and dance.”
DCAS is proud to support this initiative as a platform to celebrate our heritage and preserve our culture. The youth in our communities have a need to belong to a group. Those who participate in something like this can expect to experience a strong sense of belonging. This will contribute to all of us being better together in the Western Cape.