VUKA UKHANYE 2019 theme highlights Carnival’s capacity for social commentary through the arts

Cape Town, 16 March 2019 – It was a giant celebration of colour, energy, talent and community spirit, as the streets of the Fan Walk in Green Point came alive on Saturday evening and the annual Cape Town Carnival thrilled thousands of visitors from near and far. The 55 000-strong crowd, which began converging on Green Point from mid-afternoon to enjoy the pre-carnival entertainment, food and drinks and the Carnival Village vibe, was enthralled by bright and brilliant floats, puppetry and performances.

“There’s always a vibrant liveliness and vivacity when you arrive at the parade, and it’s fantastic to see families and friends getting into the Carnival spirit,” says Professor Rachel Jafta, chairperson of the Cape Town Carnival Trust.

The 2019 theme, VUKA UKHANYE: Arise and Shine!, was a culmination of brainstorming sessions with everyone involved in the Cape Town Carnival, and a call to action to shake off limiting beliefs and be all we can be. The ribbon cutting always signifies the start, and was preceded this year by a healing intervention ‘Clearing the Path for Our Coming Together’ held by Vuyi Qubeka with DiopMawu. The parade then exploded into bold and beautiful interpretations of Sunrise and Sunflowers turning towards the light, the first in a parade of astonishing creations the theme.

Kfm presenters Darren, Sherlin and Sibs from the breakfast show, were fun favourites on their “Wakey-Wakey” float with Liezel Van Der Westhuizen, illustrating the busy start to a working day, while an extraordinary and colourful giant puppet represented “Facing Your Fears”. “The hero must face the monster of her own fears in order to claim and recognize her power,” explains Carnival creative director Brad Baard. The parade culminated with Cape Town’s tallest marionette ‘Vukani’, shining its light.

This year saw more performers than ever join the Carnival family. “We have over 54 performance groups this year, representing over 50 areas across the metropole and beyond, and we just love bringing everyone together at our annual event,” says Jay Douwes, CEO of the Cape Town Carnival. The Cape Town Portuguese community, the German School, as well as Northlink & False Bay Colleges and KCC from the Northern Cape, joined the parade for the first time, and were welcomed with enthusiastic shouts from the crowd, while all of the groups blew the spectators away with their energy and spirit. The ever-popular Western Province Marching Band strutted their stuff, as did the

Likhwezi Arts Project, back from their recent trip representing the Cape Town Carnival at the 2019 Hong Kong International Chinese New Year Night Parade.

While the parade is, of course, the main event, there was plenty to keep spectators entertained both before and after. Action and attractions from sponsors Kfm and Multichoice, including stars from The Bachelor South Africa, as well as our heroic fire-fighters who have become a much-anticipated tradition, especially for enthusiastic ladies who get to rub baby oil on muscular men! Pop Idols 2018 winner Yanga Sobetwa, from Delft in Cape Town, kept the crowds dancing after the parade with her rapturous voice and mesmerising stage presence.

The sponsors of the 2019 Cape Town Carnival are Multichoice, the City of Cape Town, the National Department of Arts and Culture, the National Lotteries Commission, Kfm, the Western Cape Government, Tsogo Sun, Media24, the Western Cape Tourism, Trade & Investment Agency (Wesgro), Peninsula Beverages, and Gearhouse.

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