Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)
Ready to rock Mother City
Carnival organisers hope to celebrate sacredness of water, writes Luke Folb
DISCUSSIONS around water consumption have become commonplace in the city as the discussion around saving measures and restrictions continues to cause fierce debate among relatives.
Now Cape Town Carnival head of floats and sculpture Angela MacPherson hopes that sacredness of water will be celebrated at one the city’s biggest street parties.
The carnival will take place on March 17 on Main Road in Green Point. The theme for this year’s street party is Mother City, Mother Nature and will see the enormous mother nature head and the African Dream Doll headline as the showpiece floats.
“What we are now realising is that water is our most precious resource. Last year, she (the African Dream
Doll) was transformed into a water sangoma, and she was a celebration of water and represented the healing nature of water. This year as part of Mother City, Mother Nature, she is speaking about our very real water crisis,” said MacPherson.
The African Dream Doll was conceptualised by MacPherson during the 2014 carnival and has been re-purposed this year with a complete makeover including new accessories and new head and will be accompanied by traditional African dancers.
“She’s very close to my heart. I proposed the concept in 2014 and theme that year was ‘Imagine’ and what I imagined was a gigantic feminine figure puppet walking down the fan walk representing the divine feminine. Our intention with her was to call forward the girls and the women of South Africa to step into their power and to express themselves in the public arena.”
Among the 14 floats there will be a sea of greenery and bright colours with Mother Nature holding the seed of life in her hands. The indigenous flowers of the Floral Kingdom in all their spectacular finery and the Tree of Life are set to be crowd pleasers.
There will be close to
1 700 dancing, singing and instrument playing performers to accompany each float down the 1.2km parade route.
Mother Nature is perched on a metal steel base, dressed in a crown with leafy greenery, as her hair and sunflowers that act as freckles on her face.
Brad Baard, creative director for the carnival, said that the Mother Nature float, along with the Rain Queen, was an opportunity for residents to look at things of concern to them.
“Mother Nature with this veneer of the city on her crown and she’s so much bigger and so much more massive than what we absorb every day or whether it’s the Rain Queen represented by these steel rainwater tanks that are hanging on the side that make us look at the water.”
Baard said the theme was an opportunity to explore what makes Cape Town unique and how the city relies on the elements of nature.
“What are the qualities of a mother that the city can relate to? How does the city welcome? How does the city uplift?
How does the city transform and all of these themes have been woven into Mother City, Mother Nature, as well as the critical reliance on nature itself perhaps now aware more ever than before and the floats you will see, have sought to explore those issues,” he said.
Michael Bagapi, head of fabrication, said that the carnival tradition is found from within the Rio Carnival with the dancers at the Cape Town equivalent dressed in outfits and headgear that bares a striking resemblance to their Brazilian counterparts.
“We developed the wire frame on our own and designed it for the headgear, and we call it Samba, and without Samba we don’t have a carnival without those wire structure frames and the costumes to go with it there is no carnival. The headgear is a signature for the Cape Town Carnival,” he said.
Bagapi said that the costumes were recycled each year and reconfigured as the theme requires.
“We like to call it up-cycling, and because the carnival has been running since 2010, we make sure the costumes are
February 25, 2018 durable, and it’s an ongoing process where we select from the old costumes and see what are still relevant and reusable to work for that year’s theme.”
Last year’s event attracted 45 000 people, and while the event only lasts for one evening, the process to put on the carnival starts almost a year before the actual date of the event.
Baard said that the carnival’s main working space was its workshop in Maitland and that the magic of putting together the floats and conceptualising of ideas. The Carnival workshop is an epicentre of creativity and guests were offered a comprehensive perspective on what goes into the Carnival’s preparations.
“You might be under the impression that the Cape Town Carnival happens on March 17 but that’s only partly true because it’s actually just the culmination of the work. This is the behind the scenes story.”