Monday, October 24, 2011

Minstrel Carnival

As the southeast breeze kicks up outside Cape Town's Greenpoint Stadium, the sound of strumming banjos and banging drums reaches a crescendo, and thousands of merry minstrels hold onto their multicolored hats. It's the final day of the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, known more colloquially among "coloured" or mixed-race Capetonians as the "Coon Carnival," and the excitement generated by weeks of parades and months of preparation is building to a climax. Dressed in a dazzling array of shining colors, the "coons"--mostly men but also some women and children--burst spontaneously into song and dance. They croon in the local Afrikaans dialect of "Kaapse taal" (literally, "Cape language"), jump into little Chaplinesque jigs, and pump their parasols to and fro. 
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