Cellphone Zombies, the Mad Machine and beyond: What to expect at Cape Town Carnival 2019

The annual Cape Town Carnival takes places on 16 March 2019. The carnival, a platform for artistic and cultural expression is now approaching its tenth iteration, with increasing boldness and confidence and this can be seen in the messages it conveys.

 “VUKA UKHANYE: Arise and Shine!", “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the beautiful ones. It’s time to wake up, raak wys, awaken and be the light!” This is the passionate message of Cape Town Carnival 2019.  

This animating theme hopes to see participants and revellers alike to shake off limiting habits and ideas, unlock their power and potential, and be all they can be. It’s a jolt of energy and a celebration of human potential, an uplifting call to create and own a shared future.

Continuing this idea through into collaborative brainstorming sessions between participating community members, organisers and artists from more than 50 neighbourhoods’ across Cape Town - creative content will be generated and identified for the Cape Town Carnival.

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“We move from darkness and the unconscious, tethered to history, from struggle towards freedom,” says the brainstorm team of Cape Town Carnival 2019. “Carnival group leaders and crew have recognised the challenge and opportunity in this year’s theme and embraced its potential to convey powerful messages to participants and audiences,” says creative director Brad Baard.

cape town carnival, cape town, travel, festival, e(Photo: Supplied, Cape Town Carnival)

Next year’s theme, VUKA UKHANYE: Arise and Shine!, has stimulated an array of responses and ideas that will find their way into the annual spectacular through dance, costume, performance and illuminated sculptural floats, from “Facing your Fears” to “Cellphone Zombies”, social activism, becoming freedom fighters in our communities and escaping the “Mad Machine”.

“Vuka Ukhanye is a call for critical engagement, a call to step up, using the creative space of carnival arts and the carnivalesque to generate thought, response and action through spectacle and play,” says consultative curator Khanyisile Mbongwa.

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cape town carnival, cape town, travel, festival, e(Photo: Supplied, Cape Town Carnival)

Dance group leader Michelle Davids observes, “This is completely out of the box for me, so I am taking the opportunity to express the feeling of freedom.”

Cape Town Carnival CEO Jay Douwes notes, “This theme is a call to reawaken, as individuals and as a collective, to our shared and personal responsibility, to our own power and potential: if not you, then who must do it for you?”

cape town carnival, cape town, travel, festival, e(Photo: Supplied, Cape Town Carnival)

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