SCENES from the renamed Cape Town Street Parade last New Year. File photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - Two rival groups who have been at odds over the hosting of the annual minstrel parade have reached consensus to allow both groups to use Athlone Stadium for the parade.

In a repeat of last year’s legal tussle, the Cape Cultural Carnival Events Committee (CCCEC) took the Kaapse Klopse Karnival Assosiasie (KKKA) to court over the use of the stadium.

The KKKA is the organiser of the event, funded among others by the City of Cape Town and the provincial government.

The matter was heard by Western Cape High Court Judge Elizabeth Baartman and both parties agreed that a memorandum of understanding was to be drafted which would become an order of the court on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the CCCEC said it would like to use Athlone Stadium for its parades, but the City of Cape Town had granted the events permit to the KKKA.

Last year, the CCCEC used Florida Stadium in Ravensmead, but said it was too small to accommodate them.

Anwar Alexander of the CCCEC said the KKKA had no idea of the historical value of the Klopse. The CCCEC is affiliated to the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association.

“We are fighting for our right to practise our culture. Where must our people go? It’s only once a year we ask something of the city to march in remembrance of our ancestors.

“Why must we have this unpleasant feeling? Every year it’s the same thing. All we want is a fair chance. We are prepared to share. We wanted a settlement, we did not want to bring this to court,” said Alexander.

Muneeb Gambeno, director of the KKKA, said it would accommodate the CCCEC.

“Some other details have to be thrashed out,” he said. These included the presence of a beer garden, which the KKKA does not allow.

The groups were also at odds about the new name for what is traditionally known as the Tweede Nuwe Jaar minstrel parade. 

Gambeno said a “neutral name”, the Cape Town Street Parade, had been adopted. But the CCCEC would have none of it, saying Tweede Nuwe Jaar had historical value.

It also questioned how the KKKA could agree to change the route which now goes from Keizergracht Street in District Six, down Darling Street to the Grand Parade. 

The heritage route, said the CCCEC, included Keizergracht, Harrington, Darling and Wale to Rose Street in the Bo-Kaap.

Earlier this week, the City of Cape Town said the new-format Cape Town Street Parade aimed to build an “inclusive carnival for everyone who participates in it and who supports it”.

In his affidavit, Dennis Petersen, chief executive of the KKKA, said yesterday’s legal process was a repeat of past squabbles. “The festivities are about the people, irrespective of who organises them,” he said.

Hilton Nyirenda, spokesperson of the CCCEC, said they had taken a reconciliatory approach in the spirit of their patron, Nelson Mandela.

“Our belief is that the minstrel fraternity is bigger than one organisation. We should be inclusive and the angle we want to take is not about our organisation. It’s about the community. The community would like to see all the bodies participating.

“Our cry is that we do joint planning for Tweede Nuwe Jaar. We can’t have one organisation unilaterally changing the route. The challenges that Bo-Kaap is facing this year makes it important that part of the route is the Bo-Kaap community,” said Nyirenda.

The City of Cape Town said the minstrel parade had been celebrated for over 110 years. At least 50 troupes would take part.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, said it had received event permit applications for marches and competitions from both organisations. It had approved the permit for the KKKA for Athlone Stadium.

“The City of Cape Town approved funding of R4.372m to support minstrel events. Additional support of R1.3m for City services and the waiver of costs for City-owned venues will form part of the support package,” said Smith.

Weekend Argus