News

Province, City Ask Minstrel Troupe Captains to Help Ensure Road March Success

21 December 2010

The Provincial Government of the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town have appealed to minstrel troupe captains to work with government to make the annual road march through the streets of Cape Town a resounding success.

Experts from the Rio Carnival in Brazil will assess and advise on the upcoming minstrel events to build towards a world-class spectacle with international coverage and sponsorship. The two spheres of government have confirmed the route and the date and a total contribution of four point five million rand (R4, 5 m) towards the event.

The annual road march, which this year attracted forty-six thousand (46 000) minstrels and over one hundred thousand (100 000) spectators, will be held on Saturday, 1 January 2011.

The route will be along Keizergracht, Darling, Adderley and Wale Streets as far as Bree Street. The four (4) minstrel troupes resident in the Bo-Kaap will march through the area, but the full march cannot proceed through the Bo-Kaap as the vast numbers coupled with the narrow streets and confined spaces pose a safety and security threat to residents and marchers, especially young children.

"I am appealing to troupe captains and the minstrel associations to work with the Province and City to make the 1 January march a great success," says Dr Ivan Meyer, Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

"This will lay the foundation for long-term support by the government to turn minstrel marches into a world-class event. Planning for the 2012 march will start in March next year and financial support will be budgeted for in advance.

"The Province and City consulted with the minstrel associations. The majority supported the view that the road march be held on 1 January. Sunday, 2 January was not acceptable to some representatives on religious grounds which we respect. Monday, 3 January will be the first full business day after the New Year weekend and with other events taking place and large crowds expected on our beaches, public transport and security services would be under severe strain. The central city would also be disrupted with large crowds and street closures.

"I want to stress that the laying down of rules to ensure public safety whilst investing significant amounts of public money should not be portrayed as government's insensitivity to culture and heritage. We are, in fact, spending four point five million rand (R4, 5 m) to make the event possible and to grow it in the future," said Dr. Meyer.

Cape Town Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato, said: "Every marcher, every troupe captain and every minstrel board member has the opportunity and the responsibility to make the event a safe, enjoyable and spectacular launch to 2011 in Cape Town. The city must continue its international success as a 2010 FIFA World Cup? Host City and will invest its expertise and experience in the minstrel movement.

"It has all the potential of not only becoming more successful, but to also change the lives of those taking part and to provide career and business opportunities. That is why we are bringing in experts and training minstrel members in event management. There is no single body that speaks for all the minstrels. There are many associations. We want to work with them to help the soul of the minstrel movement - the marchers. Please work with the City and the Province and we will help".

The joint plan of the Province and City involves pooling resources and expertise for certain events on the annual minstrel calendar, improving event management skills and growing the event into a world class feature that can eventually compare with the famous carnivals in Brazil, the New Orleans Mardi Gras, the Trinidad Carnival and other similar events.

The joint funding and resources between the Province and City goes towards logistical and staging costs, training and municipal services such as traffic management, area clean-ups and emergency, safety and security services.

The minstrel event started small. In recent years, the event has, however, grown significantly. This requires more logistics, more funding from government, more stringent safety and security measures and more staff.

As stated, this year's Tweede Nuwejaar road march had forty-six thousand (46 000) participants with over one hundred thousand (100 000) spectators lining the route. Allowing this number of participants to march through the narrow and confined Bo Kaap will be a grave risk to safety and security. The current rule is that only troupes, who live there, march there. The Safety at Major Sports and Recreational Acts, Act 2 of 2010 introduced this year, places more onerous responsibilities on government and has a significant impact on events planning and requirements.

Joint media statement by:
Provincial Government of the Western Cape
City Of Cape Town

Issued by:
Communication Department
City of Cape Town

Media Enquiries: 

Greg Wagner
Media Liaison Officer to Dr Ivan Meyer
Provincial Government Western Cape
Cell: 072 623 4499

Pieter Cronjé
Director
Communication
City of Cape Town
Cell: 082 465 4965