Tweede Nuwe Jaar, the colourful street parade that takes place on the 2nd of January every year, in the Cape Town city centre. File photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - With less than a week to go before the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar Minstrel parade, the African National Congress in the Western Cape province has appealed to the Arts and Culture minister to boost funds for the carnival.

ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said the event should be given the same cultural recognition, protection and financial support as the annual Zulu reed dance. 

The parade, which draws thousands of spectators to the Mother City, has been marred in recent years by political rows and fights over funding.

In a statement, Jacobs said the state's recognition of the event would "bring greater unity among organizations representing minstrels and organizing a festival that belongs to Cape Town’s coloured community".

He accused the Democratic Alliance, which runs the city, of trying to appropriate the event and said its heritage should be protected.

“Lately there have been attempts by the DA-controlled City of Cape Town driven by Councillor JP Smith to try and control this festival, rename it by calling it the Cape Town Parade and also to colonialize it,” Jacobs said.

“Each year we see the spectacle of organizations organizing minstrel festivals being played off against each other for political ends. The DA must stop dividing our people.”

Two rival minstrel associations, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association and Kaapse Klopse Karnival Association were recently involved in a court battle over the use of Athlone stadium for minstrel competitions.  Both the KKKA and CTMCA had applied to the City of Cape Town for a permit to use Athlone Stadium on January 2 2019.  

The KKKA received over R4 million from the City.

On Thursday, the CTMCA withdrew its high court application. Jacobs said "official recognition" of the event would bring an end to the acrimony.

"We want unity and official recognition of our traditions and heritage so politicians cannot manipulate them,” he said.

African News Agency (ANA)