On February 3, 2024, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town was once again adorned in festive attire, as vibrant shades of Chinese red stood out against the backdrop of the azure sky and clear sea. The venue featured 10 magnificent dragons, each striking a unique pose, captivating the numerous spectators who paused to capture the moment. Organised by the Chinese community of Cape Town, the Chinese New Year celebration event in Cape Town - with the theme of “Spring Across Oceans, Chinese Splendour Shines” - once again presented the local audience with a rich cultural feast infused with Lunar New Year atmosphere.
You Wenze, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Cape Town, graced the event and extended New Year blessings to overseas Chinese and local spectators. Sylvia Elizabeth Lucas, Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, and Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor of Cape Town, also sent their New Year wishes through videos.
The drummers of the Cape Town HuaXing Art Troupe kicked off the performance with a breathtaking rendition of “The Power of the Dragon”. Thousands of people gathered at the performing stage, creating a sea of humanity where heads bobbed and weaved. The air was filled with bursts of applause and cheers as the cultural exhibition on one side of the stage was packed with people. The vibrant hues of Chinese red and the festive music drew in a multitude of visitors, making them feel as if they had stepped into a lively Chinese night market. Visitors were packed shoulder to shoulder, marvelling at the Chinese knot-making process and nodding their heads in admiration as TCM practitioners explained their practices in the booth. Of course, the most popular spots were the Chinese dragon photo spot, the Chinese cultural exhibition booth, and the cultural exhibition areas of the Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Town and Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University. Laughter echoed across the entire square.
In order to showcase this spectacular Chinese New Year event, Cape Town HuaXing Art Troupe, Confucius Institute at the University of Cape Town, and Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University created an array of new performances, spanning from song renditions to choreographed dances, all specially crafted for this year's festivities.
The Shaolin Kung Fu Institute of South Africa, the Cape Town Carnival, and the Red Dazzlers Production also contributed by presenting traditional South African Zulu dance, Xhosa dance, acappella performances, and Kung Fu displays. This not only added a multicultural touch to the Chinese New Year celebration, but also transformed it from being solely a Chinese community event to an inclusive stage for cultural diversity.
The entire performance lasted nearly three hours, featuring a dazzling array of programmes including Peking Opera, solo songs, dances and choir presentations. The dedicated performers worked tirelessly, with sweat pouring down their faces; yet their expressions radiated happiness because the applause and laughter from the audience were the greatest affirmation and recognition of their efforts.
2024 marks the Year of the Wood Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. Dragon, as the symbol of the Chinese nation, represents the core of Chinese culture. With the Year of the Dragon approaching, may all overseas Chinese in Cape Town have a prosperous and successful year, with the future ahead as bright as the dragon’s auspicious journey!