Cape Town - The Castle of Good Hope on Sunday held an intimate Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebration to commemorate the annual event that has been cancelled due to Covid-19.
A small gathering of people congregated at the castle to witness as the Cape Town 7 Steps Minstrel band entered the main entrance in song and dance, from where slaves were previously forbidden, moving through the courtyard up to the Kat balcony where proclamations and announcements were made to the soldiers, slaves and civilians at the Cape.
Calvyn Gilfellan, Castle Control Board said: “We decided to take back our history and to take back our culture and to keep that spirit alive.
“The point that we want to make is asserting ourselves, reliving and reclaiming a very rich and important part of our South African history and culture. We still feel it is important to keep this alive for generations to come,” Gilfellan said.
Cape Muslim and Slave Heritage Museum curator Igshaan Higgins said: “Our quest is to decolonise the castle and the way to decolonise it is to make it accessible to the people of the Cape.
“Institutions like the minstrels and the Cape Malay choirs, these are the people who we are bringing into the Castle so people become more familiar with the space,” Higgins said.
Because of its history people have been reluctant to visit the castle, he added.
“It’s a space we have been deprived of throughout our long history. Even after democracy people are still reluctant to come to the space. So this is an opportunity for us to bring people back on days like Tweede Nuwe Jaar,” Higgins said.
The Cape Town 7 Steps Minstrel’s manager Kader Muller said: “If we didn’t do this, the future generation will be told there was never a 2nd New Year. We are doing it so that the generations will remember that the 7 Steps and the castle were in partnership to do a celebration.”