The Cape Town Carnival’s main workshop in Maitland is where the magic happens, and on 28 February the Carnival was proud to host media, sponsors and other influencers for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to pull off an event of this magnitude.
The Carnival workshop is an epicentre of creativity where this year’s theme, VUKA UKHANYE: Arise and Shine!, is being brought to life through floats, costume and puppetry. Interpreting the call to action to be all we can be, this year’s floats will include a Monster, to represent conquering your fears, and a giant illuminated marionette ‘Vukani’ in a glorious parade of performers illustrating how we can shake off limiting beliefs. “It’s incredible to see the voyage from the creative workshops where the concept is developed to the final creations,” says Professor Rachel Jafta, chairperson of the Cape Town Carnival Trust.
“The culture of our city is unique and vital. It’s in how people treat each other, how we show up, respect and regard each other, how we interact, how we see each other. It’s part of the fabric of our society,” says Brad Baard, Creative Director of the Cape Town Carnival. “This spirit or character comes through in this year’s theme of waking up to our personal power and to our collective power.”
The theme is taken to heart by all involved, with every team member giving their utmost to develop both personally and as part of the group. “Job creation and skills development are key priorities for us at the Carnival, we’ve seen incredible developmental growth within the team and their efforts at the Maitland Workshop are truly amazing,” says Jay Douwes, CEO of the Cape Town Carnival.
With more than 2 200 performers in 54 performing groups from many areas of the broader metropole participate in the Cape Town Carnival, the costume department is managing an incredible feat producing bright, inventive costumes for every participant. “We try to repurpose as much as possible, in keeping with our sustainability ethos, so we need to be super-creative to ensure that we produce a fresh new look in line with the chosen theme each year,” explains Gillian Florence, head of the costume department.
The first Cape Town Carnival was hosted in Long Street in 2010 and drew around 11 000 spectators. Last year, about 54 000 people watched the show, and organisers look forward to even more attending this year.
Now entering its tenth year, the Cape Town Carnival has proven an economic boon for the city as well. It was calculated that the direct contribution to the city’s GDP from the 2018 event alone at R58.5 million.
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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