Getaway (South Africa)


What are the origins of the Second New Year tradition?


During the 19th century, Dutch settlers celebrated New Year in a big way, with an annual feast and much indulgence. The next day, 2 January, the slaves of the Cape were given a rare day off, to celebrate however they chose. Even after slavery was abolished in 1834, the tradition of celebratin­g 2 January continued. It has evolved into the festive Cape Town Minstrel Carnival we know today.

In the 1900s, the carnival moved around a few locations but in 1907 it was organised by the Green Point Cricket Club and moved to the Green Point Track, which became tradition. Throughout the apartheid years, the carnival was moved around after forced displaceme­nt, and in 1967 it was banned from Green Point Stadium – now called Green Point Athletics Stadium, which sits next to Cape Town Stadium. Illegal gathering Acts in the 1970s also hampered the carnival as the troupes couldn’t get together to practise. After years of trying to keep the tradition alive in the Cape, the event returned to its original route in 1989, from District Six to Green Point Stadium. Tweede Nuwe Jaar is a link between the past, the present and the future, a wonderful celebratio­n of incredible community resilience through the days of slavery, segregagti­on and apartheid.

The carnival was cancelled in 2021 because of Covid, but the minstrels hope to return in January 2022.

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