Fransman set to be minstrels’ patron

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Copy of ct Coons clothes 0476 done CAPE TIMES Debbie Johnson prepares a minstrel hat at a factory in Wetton ahead of the Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade by thousands of minstrels on Saturday. Photo: COURTNEY AFRICA


Cape Town - Minstrels will be handed Nelson Mandela armbands with an ANC logo during the Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade where ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman is expected to be named as patron.

But the two biggest minstrels groups, the Cape Town Minstrels Carnival Association (CTMCA) and the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association (KKKA), have denied weekend media reports that troupes will wear costumes in the ANC party colours or armbands with “Vote for the ANC” slogans.

Fransman, and not the minstrels, is organising the manufacture and funding of these armbands for the carnival, which will be celebrated on Saturday.

Thousands of minstrels from 60 troupes will march from District Six to the Bo-Kaap.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille cautioned on Sunday that the city would not fund a cultural parade if it was turned into a political event.

The city will spend R3.5 million and the provincial government R2m in support of the minstrels’ parade.

Minstrel Association chief executive Kevin Momberg said they would not tell minstrels to wear armbands which advocated a vote for a specific party.

“The armbands are a tribute to Mandela, who has been our patron since 1996. The bands will have an ANC logo because Mandela belonged to that party,” he said.

The minstrels also paid tribute to Mandela on December 16 when troupes marched towards the Grand Parade holding Mandela banners.

Momberg said the Minstrels Association came out in support of the ANC four years ago.

Klopse Association managing director Melvyn Matthews said each troupe had between 300 and 700 members, while some had over 1 000 minstrels taking part in the parade. Others helped with costumes, preparations and transport.

He said Fransman had helped to get government funds for skills training and had brokered peace between the two fighting minstrel groups in the build-up to the carnival.

It was important for the minstrels to select a new patron after Mandela’s death, he said.

Fransman said his involvement with the minstrels was not intended to gain support for the ANC, but to preserve the minstrels’ culture.

He said the minstrels had asked him to be their patron. “I still have to consider their request before the end of this week.”

Asked who were making the armbands and who paid for them, Fransman said such questions were “irrelevant”.

“Now is the time of the year when we celebrate the new year and our culture. You can talk to me, the politician, in mid-January,” he said.

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