Thursday, 19 December 2013

Statement on the fight of the Cape Minstrels

Since 2011, the tension between the Cape minstrels and the City of Cape Town has been one of many reasons the Patriotic Alliance exists today.

The City’s arbitrary decision in 2011 to cancel what was then a very small amount of funding (R400 000) but which meant a great deal to Cape Town’s poorer communities, was a great blow to the people. They continued their parade through the city streets with joy, but simply having access to the city’s streets was understood to no longer be a guaranteed privilege for the Cape minstrels under this DA-led administration.

It remains under threat today.

The recent impasse between the city and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association, particularly the failure to reach an agreement on how the funding of the minstrels’ annual carnival will take place, proves the low regard the city has for events like these. Carnivals such as these are tourist attractions and should be grown to be far more significant than they currently are. They capture the unique heritage of the Western Cape. 

But the concerns of businesspeople (who do not wish to have any of their activities in the city disrupted on January 2, the traditional date of Tweede Nuwe Jaar) are given priority.

This bias of the DA towards protecting the interests of the wealthy, who do not identify with the heritage of the minstrels in the Western Cape, is plain to see in its disdainful and stingy attitude towards the minstrels.

The Patriotic Alliance has already undertaken in its policies (available at that it will fund and develop important heritage institutions like the Minstrel’s Carnival (especially Tweede Nuwe Jaar).

We call on the people to make their disappointment at the attitude of the governing party towards them known with their vote.

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