Manenburg, Carnival of the Minstrels

The month of January in Cape Town is marked by the carnival of the minstrels. This festival starts on January 2nd and brings a lot of colour, music, dance and joy to the city. This cultural event commemorates the freedom of the slaves and attracts a lot of tourists. Beautiful shining costumes, brass bands, drums, dance and steps, all express vitality and a vibrant culture. Out of a sad song: "Da com die Alabama" (an American ship) people made a joke, said one of the minstrels. Some paint their faces as was done in the olden days so that the bosses could not recognize the slaves working for them. From a history of devastation and loss: slavery, apartheid, wars, people moved to a celebration of life and freedom.

It is part of Cape Town's identity, an image of the struggle of a people who manages to overcome hardships and crises with an inner strength and joy and laughter and good humour. Many artists put that in painting, poetry, music etc (like our friend Vincent Kolbe who died last year).

Life on the "Cape Flats" where we are and where people were relocated after the demolition of District 6 by apartheid, is not easy, but there are lots of wonderful happenings, lots of talents and especially lots of extraordinary people, so warm and welcoming and helpful, with a real sense of community. In our fraternity too we experience wonderful support from so many friends and neighbours, both Christians and Moslems, and as is written on so many T-shirts and on the walls, we too are "proudly Manenberg"

Last October we went with a friend to visit our old parish in District 6, and the priest there has put in stained glass windows, one of them depicting Brother Charles with in the background, Table Mountain, District 6 and three little sisters of Jesus (one of them being Iris-Mary). We were very moved to see that. Table Mountain is a symbol for Cape Town, watching over the city and its 2 and a half million people, a people full of dynamism, ever changing, with a love for the mountain and the sea.

"Enthusiasm is the vehicle of my life,

Contemplation of Allah is my compassion,

Faith is the source of my power,

Sorrow is my friend.

Knowledge is my weapon,

Truth is my salvation

Worship is my habit,

Love for all is the core of my belief."

A prayer in the Muir Street Mosque