Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
The Cape Town Carnival & SU work together towards social cohesion, employment & inclusive economic development
Author: Transform Marketing
Published: 14/03/2018

​​​​The Cape Town Carnival, a Social Impact initiative under the leadership of Stellenbosch University’s Professor Rachel Jafta, is a spectacular experience of colour, creativity and diversity for spectators who flock to the famous Green Point Fan Walk year after year. The team behind it all has been working tirelessly for close to a year to bring the 2018 edition of this beloved annual event to life.​

Featuring close to 1 700 dancing, singing and instrument playing performers and magnificently designed and fantastically intricate floats, all around the theme Mother City, Mother Nature, the 2018 Carnival will kick off at 19h00 on Saturday 17 March.  

catepillar.jpgStellenbosch University’s involvement with the Carnival this year includes a new feature: Cape Town Carnival 2018 will see the participation of 20 American International Scholars; a program of Stellenbosch University. American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) seeks to facilitate uplifting South African experiences for foreign students and they are twinning with Believe in Schatzi (BiSO) by providing food for the BISO participants for rehearsals and event day. BiSO is an NPO that assists young adults and children living with disabilities to develop greater independence, social confidence, and the skills required to lead self-driven lives. Both organisations are participating in the Cape Town Carnival for the first time this year and their collaboration as the ‘Caterpillars’ (AIFS) and ‘Insect Orchestra’ (BiSO) is also a great example of the Cape Town Carnival’s efforts to promote social inclusion/social cohesion.​

Power for positive change

carnival_body.jpg“The Cape Town Carnival reaches more than 5000 community members in the broader Cape Town Metropolitan area and some rural areas, as well as about 55000 spectators annually. It contributes about R41 million to the local economy, creates jobs and enterprise development, and skills transfer opportunities,” says Prof Rachel Jafta who is based in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University and Chair and founding trustee of the Cape Town Carnival.  “The University is a knowledge partner sharing its expertise with participating communities. The Carnival also offers opportunities to gain research data and conceptualise research questions that can lead to collaborative solutions with the participating communities,” she says. 

“One of our main aims is to foster social cohesion through the Cape Town Carnival. Independent research indicates we are having significant impact in this regard, bringing participating communities and the public together in a safe and celebratory space every year," says Jay Douwes, CEO of the Cape Town Carnival. “Participants and spectators are united in love of the Mother City and pride in South African diversity."

Another major benefit of the Cape Town Carnival is the skills development that takes place among the participants and production crews. Since many of the job opportunities created by the Cape Town Carnival are seasonal and/or contract work, many employees go on to work in other industries, using skills developed while building floats or sewing costumes for the Cape Town Carnival.​

The environmentally conscious Cape Town Carnival

Sustainability and environmental awareness are two core principles of the Carnival and its organisers. “The water crisis gripping the Western Cape has given us the opportunity to further our responsible business practices," says Douwes. These include measures like installing rainwater-harvesting tanks at the main production workshop in Maitland, enforcing a policy of zero-waste-to-landfill and bringing down individual water usage for flushing and cleaning to less than four litres per person per day.

“Major events like the Cape Town Carnival create all kinds of benefits for the city, from increased tourism to job creation," says Alderman JP Smith, Cape Town mayoral executive committee member for Safety, Security and Social Services. “It is, of course, especially heartening that the organisers decided to eliminate the event's dependence on our city's limited resources such as water."

​Better and better every year

​The first Cape Town Carnival was hosted in Long Street in 2010 and drew around 11 000 spectators. Last year, about 45 000 people watched the show, and organisers invite more people to join the celebration every year.

“Each year we as performers and artists are amazed by the overwhelmingly positive response from the public," says Brad Baard, Creative Director for the Carnival. “That's what motivates us to keep coming back, to put love and inspiration in the streets, doing it all brighter and better the next year."

Now in its ninth year, the Cape Town Carnival has proven an economic boon for the city as well. Independent analysis conducted by the South African Culture Observatory, a creative economy think tank and the research arm of the National Department of Arts & Culture calculated direct contributions to the city's GDP from the 2017 event alone at R41 million.

“Cape Town is a diverse, creative, colourful, talented and certainly a successful city, and we're proud to play a part in this amazing city's Carnival," says John van Rooyen, Operations Director for the Cape Region at Tsogo Sun, the 2018 event's official hotel partner.

American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS)​ Participants

Believe in Schatzi (BiSO) Participants