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A Vibrant Cape Town: Festivals And Culture

Posted on November 6, 2009 | Fascinating CitiesNo Comment

Theatre, dance, music, films and festivals of all kinds keep the tourists and the people of Cape Town happy throughout the year, bringing to them the fusion of culture that Cape Town is drowned in.

Adding in more to this mood are oozes of laughter, courtesy the annual Cape Town International Comedy festival across the city.

The Dutch, Cape and Victorian among otherss style of architecture, give this place a whole new touch. With a warm and laid back attitude, the people of Cape Town make it a tourist-friendly destination and hence a popular one on that.


Home to world known Jazz musicians like Abdullah Ibrahim, Basil Coetzee and Robbie Jansen, Cape Jazz is a rich contribution to the culture and heritage of South Africa.  From folk, to western to Jazz, to Opera, music is reverberates across the city, especially in Cape Flats. This is the point of development for the South African Jazz. Some Popular venues for some good music are Mama Afrika with authentic Cape Town food and live music, The Green Dolphin at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for Jazz, The Independent Armchair Theatre for live-band performances among other venues. Most of the bars and lounges have good live performances.

Musical concerts with international artists are held at Bellville. To hear the local talent, you could go to Baxter Theatre Centre in Rondebosch or head to the Century city. There is place here for all kind of music- classic, jazz or popular.

Stellenbosch is known to be the center for music and performing arts and ahs annual festivals from November to March for the same.

cape town music


Cape Town stages a number of dance performances, throughout the year and as annual festivals across the city. The major venues here are Artscape Theatre Centre, Maynardville open-air theatre, Wynberg among others. National and international dance and ballet troupes frequently stage their performances at Baxter and Artscape theatre center.


While the cultural centers here stage all kinds of theatre, perhaps unique to the city of Cape Town is the Cape Comedy Collective Circuit. Theatres like Kalk Bay, The Grouse and the Baxter Theatre centre in Rondebosch, Baxter stage regular comedy shows such as the always in demand ‘Theatresports’. September is the time and Cape Town is the venue for the annual The Cape Town International Comedy Festival ( .


Even with a huge film and television industry, the South African films are yet to get their due. Catering to people’s one of the favourite ways of chilling out, i.e., watching cinema, almost all shopping centers have movie screens. There’s enough space for art house and independent films as well. The Labia theatre is a bohemian art house cinema, and the city’s oldest one too. Independent Armchair Theatre too screens art house cinema. Cape Town is home to some great film personalities like Sir Anthony Sher and Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

Literary world of Cape Town

As an example of a country with an oppressive government that practiced apartheid to a country of Nelson Mandela and others who struggle against apartheid made it symbol of peace and democracy, South Africa has major political works on it.

2003 Nobel Laureate for Literature, J M Coetzee is one of the great literary figures of this country, born in Cape Town. Some of his works include Disgrace (1999), The Life and Times of Michael K (1983) and Dusklands (1974). All his works talk of African politics and society.  André P Brink, Jakes Mda are few other well-known writers of this place.

David Kramer is the king of musicals while Menan du Plessis is well known novelist of Cape Town, who understand the city’s fabric very well.


With Victorian, Gothic, Cape and Dutch styled buildings, Cape Town is an architect’s delight. Some of the well know buildings are The Clock Tower, a  Victorian Gothic styled tower, completed in 1882, is a major point at the V&A waterfront and the Time Ball Tower, built in 1894, this one is at the Dock House.

The Cape Dutch style combines the architecture style of Netherlands, Germany and France and is reflected in the government buildings of Constantia. Among other historical buildings are Ferryman’s Freehouse, the Dock House, and The Old Power Station etc, all within the V & waterfront area.

Cape Town Clock Tower

Learning centers

Cape Town has a number of universities in and around the city such as Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Tygerberg Faculty of health Sciences among many others. The University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University are among the top South African Universities. Benefits are being given to non-whites and more finances are going in the sector.


Cape Town is in the mood of celebration throughout the year, with a number of festivals held across the city.

cape town festival


The New Year starts with Kaase Klopse (Cape Minstrel’s Carnival), where the carnival parades from city centre to the Green Point. January is also the month for International Yacht race, the track being Cape to Baia.

February – March

The 10 day festivals of gay comes in next, in February-March, and ends with a Pride Parade on the 10th day. Mid March is the time for Cycle tour, or the Cape Argus, where participants have to cover a distance of 108 kilometers around the city. This month is also the time to celebrate the unity of the country, with the Cape Town Festival, exhibiting art, culture and heritage across the city of Cape Town. If you are a music lover, more so a Jazz fan, land up for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in late March. Held at Cape Town International Convention Centre, this is supposed to be the grandest jazz fest of Africa.

April – June

April 27 marks the commemoration of South Africa’s democratic election, celebrated as Freedom Day. May makes you gay with food and wine of the Cape Gourmet Festival.

At Greyton, June brings the Winter festival, for its art.


July to August is when cinemas across the city screen films that are a part of the International Documentary Film Festival. At Hout Bay Harbour, they celebrate the Hout Bay Snoek Derby in the name of Cape Town’s favourite fish!

Remembering the role of women in the struggle against apartheid is the reason for celebrating the National Women’s Day in August.


The annual 10-day whale watching festival commences in September/October, in the coastal town of Hermanus.

Taking a city tradition to generations of generations since 1803, is the Cape Time Walk in October, a walk for charity.


The international Dragon boat festival comes in November.


Another day marking the nation’s unity is December 16, Day of Reconciliation. The last day of December, of course, is for celebrating on the New Year’s Eve.

To check what’s on where, you could get hold of Friday editions newspapers like The Cape Argus and the Cape Times. The Mail and The Guardian, among other magazines and newspapers, serve as a source of cultural events to take place in Cape Town.

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