joburg carnival to usher in new year

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

If you are around Johannesburg on New Year's Eve, there are a number of parties to usher you into the new year.

The biggest of all is the annual Johannesburg Carnival, that will culminate in a concert at Mary Fitzgerald Square.

The gig, which is supported by the City of Johannesburg and SABC2, will see popular musicians entertain the crowds. The musicians billed to perform include Freshlyground.

To help foster tolerance following the xenophobic attacks earlier this year, young foreign nationals will participate in the carnival.

The theme of the carnival is "Unity in our diversity" - a fitting and symbolic gesture of reconciliation, given the scars that residents still bear after the brutal attacks on foreigners in May.

In this spirit of building tolerance and understanding of others, the City of Joburg has incorporated a number of foreign nationals in one of the groups, assembled from the city's various regions, that will participate in the carnival on December 31.

The group comprises about 50 youngsters, with a blend of South Africans and foreign nationals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Angola, Burundi and Kenya.

Under the expert choreography of famed local dancer Vukani Khoza, the children and young adults will be put through their paces to create an exciting dance spectacle for the carnival.

Members of the public are invited to come and witness the youngsters displaying their prowess in a mixture of modern, hip-hop and township dancing, with a touch of Congolese dance thrown in.

The foreign nationals will be among the various groups taking part in the carnival, which will be co-hosted by the South African Police Service.

It will kick off at 2pm when various carnival troupes, choirs and musicians set off from Kotze Street in Hillbrow and proceed through the inner city, over Nelson Mandela Bridge and then into Newtown.

Residents are invited to come out and witness this cheerful riot of colour, music and activity, which will culminate in a free concert at Mary Fitzgerald Square from 6pm, featuring top acts such as Freshlyground, MXO, Gang of Instrumentals, Bleksem, Howza, KB and Wonderboom.

According to the organisers, security will be tight along the route and in Newtown, and the police and emergency services will ensure that proceedings run like clockwork.

Meanwhile, in Soweto, Kaya FM DJs will be spinning the discs at Sedibeng Pub and Restaurant, in Zone 10 Meadowlands.

The festivities will start at 6pm.

Dubbed the Jocks about Town Year End Party, this gig promises to rock into the new year.

Entrance fee is R50 and women get in for free before 8pm.

Spinning the discs will be Kaya FM DJs Ke-nny Nkwashu, Tbose and Sphiwe.