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The City of Cape Town will host a competition to accommodate displaced minstrel troupes following the inability of certain associations to host competitions for their troupes. Read more below:

The troupes that belong to the Cape Town Minstrels Carnival Association (CTMCA), approached the City of Cape Town for assistance. Following a meeting with some of the members of the displaced troupes yesterday, the City has agreed to work with the individual troupes to host a minstrels competition which will allow them all to compete on Sunday 20 January and Sunday 27 January 2019 at the Athlone Stadium. (Following the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebration in the city centre, minstrel troupes have competitions in their communities over the following weeks. Some of these troupes have been unable to compete as the CTMCA is unable to comply with legislative requirements.)

This gesture will allow the troupes to celebrate their cultural heritage. Additionally, it will give their families and friends an opportunity to come out and support them.

Over the years various representative associations have been formed, with dozens of troupes falling under these different banners. While the City feels that it is unfortunate that year after year these organisations have been unable to find a way to work together and set aside their differences in favour of the greater good, the end result is that many troupes will be sidelined and miss the opportunity to celebrate their heritage and perform for the crowds unless the City intervenes.

While the City fully supports this unique iconic event, the administration is unable to lease venues or issue events permits to an association or events organiser that is non-compliant with events and other legislation. In the case of the CTMCA some board members have criminal records (in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime legislation) and event permit applications are non-compliant with the relevant City by-laws and national legislation governing large events. CTMCA has also has significant unpaid costs relating to City services and reneged on the payment agreements previously agreed to.

‘The annual minstrel events are an integral part of Cape Town’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and it allows communities to showcase this proud tradition. The City has always been supportive of minstrel events that are inclusive, compliant with legislation and hosted in the best interests of public safety. This is reflected in the fact that the minstrels associations receive the largest share of the City’s annual Events budget.’

‘As a means of addressing this ongoing division within the minstrel community the City of Cape Town will accommodate the troupes, who have not been given the opportunity to march and perform, at an event that will take place for these troupes. This will remain an event for the troupes “without a home” and their following, without involvement by the associations who cannot find a way to work together,’ said the Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

‘We are proud that we can assist the individual troupes as we know that many members have spent the whole year raising funds for their uniforms and many traders linked to the event have invested in their food and goods for their stall. Many young people in these troupes have been practising and preparing for the competitions and we would not want them to be excluded,’ added the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

Cape Town has a rich and diverse heritage worth celebrating and part of this heritage is the annual celebration of the Cape Minstrels, as they march through the streets of Cape Town in their bright and multi coloured sequinned outfits, trumpets blaring and drums thumping as thousands of Capetonians and visitors to the city cheer from the side-lines in support of their troupes.

The City will communicate the details of the competition in due course.

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