The Cape Town Carnival crew and 2,000 talented performers from over 50 community-based groups have been hard at work preparing for this event since June of last year. This has included building floats, designing gorgeous costumes, practising dance routines and perfecting melodies.

You’ll be able to catch this all on 21 March 2020 at 7pm on the Green Point fan walk. General access to this event is free, but if you want a seat you can purchase either a bleacher-style terraced platform seat or the ultimate Cape Town Carnival hospitality experience.

The theme this year is ‘Incredible Journey: Sounds of South Africa’, and will weave the music, song, dance and art of our country together.

Jay Douwes, CEO of Cape Town Carnival adds, “We are celebrating 10 years of igniting joy and unity through creativity. Through this project we have seen the incredible ingenuity and talent of our people and are proud to have been able to provide the platform for locals and international visitors to experience this.”

The parade will move through various themed pods of grouped dancers, floats and puppets. These include:

Footsteps of the first artists: The oldest evidence of humans creating art were found in Blombos Cave, South Africa. Therefore the carnival will begin with a celebration of the world’s very first artists. This will include a giant eland sculpture inscribed with symbols and marks like those of the early Southern African peoples, and bow-harp music played by Glen Arendse of Khoi Konnexion.

DANCE! Energy in motion: South Africa’s many dance styles will be celebrated in a collaboration of ATKV Riel champions and gumboot dancers Phatizwelethu, Masizakhe, Masi Creative Hub and IthembaLabantu.

Honouring our African cultural roots: The incredible variety of African cultural traditions, identities and creative expressions, will be honoured in this segment. The float and performance will draws inspiration from isiZulu, isiXhosa, seSotho & Ndebele styles of dress, adornment, patterns, colours and shapes. The performers include Mali Drummers and Bulumko High School in Khayelitsha, as well as lead performers Mxolisi Gontsana, Odwa Mangqibsa, Tyron Zoutman, Neziswa Tose and Ncumisa Shumi.

Marabi Kwela: Sophiatown’s uniquely South African sounds and jive – Traditional African sounds combined with jazz and the influence of visiting American musicians resulted in the birth of Kwela and Marabi music during the 1950s “Drum Era”. The Carnival will interpret this with a giant Drum magazine, which will come to life with dance – reminiscent of a ‘50s Saturday night beerhall. This will be done by the Rainbow Academy, Cape Whalers Field Band Foundation and Kleinvlei Fitness Hub, with lead performers Chante Wildeman, Mihlali Nomana, Unathi Makhambi and Zinedine Manus.

Umswenko: Move to your own beat – Umswenko is a contemporary South African movement originally expressed by miners. It uses song, dance and impeccable style to celebrate life beyond work, and brought people from different cultures and backgrounds together. The float for this part will evoke a township vibe, and performers will include Strandfontein High, with John Nunkani, Uyanda Mchunu, Andrea Jacobs, Aphiwe Sodlamba and Bongani Mzizi, and amaswank.

Music of the soul: The full range of musical genres that can be found in our diverse nation will be celebrated in this spot, to show that music transcends race, religion, culture, space and time to bring people together around the world. Bringing you this wide variety of musical styles, from current to classic, doef doef to pata pata, and hip hop to house, will be the Parkdale Malay choir.

Toyi Toyi: A call for change – The South African tradition of demonstrating through song, dance, music and movement is one of the strongest examples of the resounding proactive power of our people. KhuyaKhanya, Lavuthi Bhayi and Kraai4Art will deliver an energetic and powerful performance as they toyi toyi.

One South Africa: Cape Town’s Chinese Community will share their joyful dragon dance, while Jhoomkar Traditional Indian Dance group will perform to traditional gorba music, the Portuguese Community will give a distinctive ‘bailinho’ inspired performance, and the Aphrodite & Northern Lights group will deliver a traditional Middle Eastern flavor with belly dancing. These groups will be joined by Lisa Marias, Precious Morharinyane, Lesley Maasdorp and Byron Mckeith.

Voices of our women: The Iconic Dream Doll float will celebrate women as activists and social revolutionaries, with the Vula Youth drummers and dancers, the URC dancers from Kraaifontein and lead performers Celest Marinus, Busiswa Maliwa, Sihle Ngantweni, Yanick Sweers, Andrea Harry and Amber Gelderbloem.

AfroFuture: explosion of creativity – The grand finale of Carnival 2020 looks at what is possible in our future, given the power of African creativity and ingenuity. A spectacular float will imagine the city of the tomorrow, full of optimism, opportunities and innovation – and a uniquely African style. Performers AfriCAN contemporary dancers and singer Tracey Carter, bioRithm, Michelle Davids Dance Company, Heiderveld Theatre Company, Marunzo Thomas, William Adams, Freedom Malgas and Nico Kywe.

Franco Pascoe, Workshop Co-ordinator at Cape Town Carnival says, “Everyone is welcome, we are stronger together, we are not separate. We have what we need inside us if we just let it out. And for us it starts by putting love in the streets.”

Thanks goes to the Cape Town Carnival 2020 sponsors for making this possible. They are: the City of Cape Town, MultiChoice, the National Department of Arts and Culture, DStv, Media24, Kfm,, the Western Cape Government, Tsogo Sun, the Western Cape Tourism, Trade & Investment Agency (Wesgro), Peninsula Beverages, and Gearhouse.

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All images supplied by Cape Town Carnival.