Follow the sounds of South Africa's heartbeat at Cape Town Carnival 2020

Music always has a way of taking its listeners on a journey - the twangs tell stories, the notes bounce around until they dissipate into the ether and the voice transports you to otherworldly dreamscapes.

In South Africa, music is at the core of our social gatherings, a multitude of genres that have shaped the way we express our love, rage and power.

It's no wonder that the first Cape Town Carnival of the decade will focus on the chords that keep us moving. 

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On 21 March - when Cape Town's streets light up with colour - the carnival's theme will be Incredible Journey: Sounds of South Africa. From marimba to marabi to riel, not only will the parade stimulate your visual senses - but also your auditory receptors. 

From its humble beginnings 11 years ago with just one float, the Cape Town Carnival has grown into a community-driven affair focused on inclusivity and raising the voices of all Capetonians. 

"Every human being should have a drum because of our innate rhythm," said Glen Arendse, a hunting bow musician, at the launch of the carnival's theme on Friday. 

While his choice of instrument is unusual - once forming a core part of coming-of-age rituals - for him the ancient method functions "as a portal into magic" and has the power to unite us. 

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Afro-future

One float to look out for will be the Afro-Future float - the last one in the parade.

"It will be the vision we have for the city and the youngsters of the future," said Franco Pascoe, who heads up the construction of the carnival's floats. "There's a bombardment of creativity on that float."

He highlighted that part of this vision will be the balance that needs to be maintained with nature - as something that we need to elevate and keep thinking about in the back of our minds as the city expands.

This sentiment was reiterated by Dan Plato, the current Mayor of Cape Town. In his future, the carnival is an opportunity to bring together people of all walks of life. 

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"The artistic talent in our country will be our goldmine."

Carnival details

Here's what you should know about the event:

  • Date: 21 March 2020
  • Place: Green Point Main Road (which will be closed off)
  • Time: Roads close at 15:00 on the day and the carnival will start at 19:00. 
  • Tickets: General access will be free, seated tickets will be R350 and a VIP experience will cost R1 390. Get your tickets on Quicket.
  • After-party: The festivities will continue after the parade at Green Point's P12 Public Parking.

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Here's what you should know about getting there:

  • The N1 Inbound will be closed this weekend between R300 and Durban interchanges. Use the R300 and N2 to get to the city bowl.
  • Schedule enough time to ensure you get to the Carnival on time.
  • Roads will also be closed in Green Point itself.
  • They are providing a free MYCITI bus service from the Cape Town Stadium Station to the Civic Station every 20 minutes between the following hours: 16:30 – 18:30 and 22:30 – 24:00. 
  • If you're driving, there will be a lot of parking in the city or in the V&A Waterfront. 
  • Please don’t park illegally as the traffic police will enforce the law by issuing fines and may even tow away vehicles. 

See the map for the event and road closures below:

map of Cape Town carnival

(Map: Cape Town Carnival)

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