The Iziko Social History Collections department presents a part of history and culture unique to Cape Town and South Africa. It focuses on how carnival participation has been passed on from generation to generation, while tracing the carnival’s roots and its transformation over the centuries. A striking case study of how social life, politics, identity, popular culture, ritual and negotiating day-to-day life all come together, can be found in the celebration of carnival and in the performances of the Malay choirs, Christmas bands and klopse troupes. The significance of carnival as celebration, as well as the context of changing expressions of identity, are highlighted.
This booklet, based on the exhibition, Ghoema and Glitter: New Year Carnival in Cape Town, explores themes that speak of oppression, the yearning for freedom, celebration, and the importance of music in people’s daily lives.