Drug Trade in Minstrel Associations Threatening Our Heritage

Article excerpt

This is an open letter to Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool and Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille.

The year 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the Cape Minstrel Competition, a tradition I was born into, and an event I would not miss for the world, held every January.

Each year, thousands of people from historically disadvantaged areas in the Cape Metro, which has major drug and gangsterism problems, are brought together. They forget the poverty that has its origins in the past political instabilities, and, that under our new democracy, they are not getting proper access to economic opportunities, job creation and social stabilities.

As a result, there are those that enjoy positions of directorships on the minstrel associations who use this opportunity to make easy money through the drug trade.

It is estimated that 22 000 people will be participating in the carnival in 2008.

If a quarter of these members are using drugs, which is a reality, it amounts to 5 500 people. At R30 a tik straw, that equals R165 000 at a time.

This money all goes to drug lords, some whom are directors of the associations and owners of various minstrel troupes. …