Carnival time to welcome the New Year

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Preparations for the massive Johannesburg Carnival are on track.

The festival is held to usher in the New Year and to provide free entertainment to the residents and visitors to Johannesburg.

The theme of this year's festival is Nyakaza Jo'burg Unplugged.

The festival is held in partnership with the City of Jo'burg, the directorate of arts, culture and heritage and the SAPS.

Carmel Nair, the Carnival Consortium project director, says that the festival celebrates Jo'burg, its people and their culture.

Nair said that the carnival was a platform for artistic exposure and provides much-needed employment for more than 500 people through a number of activities such as troupes, seamstresses, sculptors, choreographers and many others.

The key objectives are to enable carnival capacity building and to develop a Jo'burg Carnival learnership programme.

Groups from seven of the Johannesburg Metropolitan regions will participate in the procession. About 10 different cultural groups from such countries as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania who live in Hillbrow will parade and showcase their country's flags and costumes, and a variety of freestyle performances.

There will be an opening act of street theatre, gumboot and pantsula dancing by the Twilight children and the Vuvuzela orchestra in Kotze Street, Hillbrow.

The procession sets off at 2pm from four starting points to allow the maximum number of city residents and areas to take part.

The four departure points are Pieter Roos Park in Parktown, the Yeoville Recreational Centre, the Drill Hall in Joubert Park and Berea Park in Berea.

Johannesburg's first New Year's carnival was held in 2004. It was so successful that the council approved the appointment of the Carnival Consortium.