Carnival to bring Soweto to a standstill

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pretoria - Preparations for the seventh edition of the Gauteng Pale Ya Rona (our story) Carnival are well underway.

Floats and costumes are being made at different base-camps around the province. The main base camp is in Cleveland and the satellite one is in the Vaal in Sedibeng.

The three-day colourful extravaganza, to be held from 2 - 4 September, will take place in Soweto, Mofolo, to welcome spring and usher in the entertainment season of the festive period.

Following the biting winter season, the blaze of colour, thundering music and exquisite dance moves will surely warm the hearts of participants and the public alike.

Gauteng MEC for Sport Arts, Culture and Recreation, Lebogang Maile, said Pale Ya Rona Carnival will be one of the major attractions for the province.

"It is Gauteng's aspiration that the Pale Ya Rona Carnival shall keep growing and eventually will attain its pride of place as an internationally acclaimed cultural and tourism attraction as envisaged in the coming years," he said.

The official opening ceremony to unveil the costumes and large floats, towering over 5m, will take place for the first time on 2 September.

The mesmerising designs are a product of over five months of work by a team of dedicated crafters, artists, painters and seamstresses, which include more women and youth, and is racially integrated group, which strengthens the element of social cohesion.

On September 3, there will be a 3.5km children's carnival featuring children from 60 schools around Gauteng.

"For this year, the school children do not only come to parade but they have also produced the costumes they'll be wearing for the parade. We believe this will go a long way in developing the interest of the learners within the arts and craft industry and thereby bring growth and sustainability of the industry by introducing new talent," said Maile.

Following the children's parade is a battle of the DJs to select the best up-and-coming Gauteng DJ from the 14 that would have been selected from the Carnival DJ audition process.

The carnival curtain will close with the main carnival on Sunday, September 4 as the Gauteng Department of Arts and Culture puts on a showstopper display.

This will feature troupes from the different regions of Gauteng and from other provinces, including KZN, Eastern Cape, North West and Free State. Also expected are troupes from neighbouring countries including Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Led by a float which has been built into a truck, the parade will bring the area to a standstill as over 15 000 participants take to the streets to ensure that Mofolo, Orlando West and the surrounding areas are the most colourful and loudest in the whole of Soweto.

Following the float will be 14 DJs in 14 trucks, stilt walkers, giant puppets, brass bands, drum majorettes and more.

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