Riot of colour as city marks holiday with a Heritage Carnival
Pretoria - A huge and colourful fusion of cultures and traditions of people from various parts of the world joined the Gauteng Heritage Carnival to mark Heritage Day yesterday.
The annual event saw thousands of people who rocked in eye-catching outfits. They were joined by Premier David Makhura and other provincial government leaders.
The first part of the carnival was early in the morning when more than 8000 learners walked with Makhura and MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi.
Residents and motorists stopped, leaning out of their windows and standing in doorways to watch and enjoy the procession.
Some people gathered on the balconies of their flats to document this celebration of the rich cultural diversity in South Africa.
It was a case of “show me your culture, your traditional regalia and your tribal dance and I will show you mine, and we’ll get together and embrace each other”.
Participants painted their faces and danced in the streets.
The procession included floats representing things that are part of South Africa’s identity, including one shaped as a protea or the coat of arms.
Another group of young people built a float to resemble a mini-bus taxi.
Taxis are part of the county's heritage as they carry the majority of the country’s daily commuters.
While there were scores of people who represented cultures from neighbouring countries, what stirred excitement among the crowd was seeing participants from as far away as China, Peru and Argentina.
Chinese resident Eleven Ransong and six of his countrymen graced the crowd with their presence on the lawns of the Union Buildings, where the carnival ended with a party.
They took a lot of photos with many South Africans who dressed in traditional Sepedi, Zulu and Xhosa regalia.
“My English is not so good but I am enjoying this interaction with the people here. “Everyone is very happy and they are taking a lot of photos with us and showing us a lot of love and the famous spirit of ubuntu we have always heard about,” said Ransong.
Makhura said the day was very special in Gauteng because it brought thousands of diverse people together to celebrate their unique cultures.
He said it showed that in South Africa, everyone was welcome to celebrate his or her culture without fear of judgement or criticism.
“Today we had more than 8000 young children from 130 schools, who started their carnival at 10am. You can see they put all the stuff on me (colour powder). It’s a beautiful day today to celebrate.
“I am very happy, there are our brothers and sisters from Zimbabwe who are part of the carnival. We have our brothers and sisters from Zambia and the DRC showcasing that Africa is a beautiful continent.
“This is a continent that has every part of humanity. Part of Europe is found in Africa. Part of Asia is found in Africa. Part of the Americas is found in Africa. All of them come here from Africa. This is the cradle of humankind,” said Makhura.
He led the crowd from the Union Buildings on a meander through Sunnyside. Thereafter, they went back to the Union Buildings where various artists performed for the crowds.