BIG AND BRIGHT: Switching on of Christmas lights spectacular

Two years ago I performed at the switching on of the lights in Cape Town.

In fact, I had the pleasure of pressing the big red button myself alongside Mayor Patricia de Lille, which sent Cape Town into jubilation and came with a magnificent fireworks display.

To perform at the liggies is considered a milestone for all Kaapstad artists, after all it is one of the biggest events of the year and sets the tone for the festive season.

The City of Cape Town puts a lot of thought into this event, but over the years have received some backlash from local artists because of their choice to bring in out-of-town headline acts.

Two years ago, it was Micasa and Hugh Masekela, and mense had a lot to say about Joburg artists being brought in.

UPSET: Mi Casa sang two years ago

Artists I spoke to were die hell in, saying stuff like: “hulle sien mos nie hulle eie talent raakie”, “hoekom moet die Joburg artists al die geld kry and dan spat hulle die next dag met Kaapstad se kroon” and “die city is veronderstel om na hulle artists te kyk".

This year, however, it would seem that those cries have been heard, and the line-up sparkled with local talent.

The comedians of Joe Barber were the masters of ceremony, with singers like Jimmy Nevis, The Voice SA winner Craig Lucas and even Cape Town’s newest and brightest star, Paxton Fielies, this year’s winner of Idols SA, joining the line-up.

MR HEARTBOXING: Jimmy Nevis sings

I made my way to the Grand Parade this year just along with thousands of others and by the time I finally got there, the party was already rukking.

I thought to myself, wow, they got it right, and by the time The Rockets took the stage, the crowd was roaring and what a jol we had.

MC'S: Oscar Petersen and David Isaacs rocked

The mayor made her little jive as she entered and before we could decide whether we were happy to see her or not, the liggies countdown had begun and one, two, three, kaboom, als was oor.

What an amazingly clever thing to do in the midst of Cape Town’s political divide.

This year’s switching on of the lights was a tribute to the amazing year the Mother City has had in entertainment.

The Rockets, who this year celebrate 50 years in entertainment, was undoubtedly the obvious choice to headline the event, and they were not selfish, welcoming artists one by one to join them on stage in a lekke medley.

What a lovely rendition of My Girl they did with Mr Heartboxing, followed by Craig Lucas, who performed one of Kaapstad’s most-loved songs, Jonathan Butler’s Please Stay.

And then they topped it off by Mrs Africa herself Vicky Sampson, singing Miriam Makeba’s evergreen click song Pata Pata.

That moment resonated with us all.

The show seems well-planned, and for that I applaud you, madam mayor.

It shows that if you keep it home, artists actually have time and make time to rehearse, because that moment means more to our local artists than some of the egotistical acts we have to fly all the way from Joburg.

In moments like this, I actually feel like our voices are being heard and something is being done for us by the city.

Oh yes, we also loved the online competition that gives a local act a chance to perform alongside the already famous.

Like so many others, I went to go see Paxton perform in the Cape for the first time since her win, and the 17-year old once again showed what a flawless vocalist she is.

She did not disappoint, rendering a stunning performance of Stand up for Love, by Destiny’s Child.

I think it was an appropriate song to sing, considering thousands of fans were standing up on the parade, screaming her name and chanting: “We love you, Paxton”.

This event has proven that we don’t need no Joburg headliners, ons sterretjies is blink genoeg, thank you very much.

Now let’s work to make the Cape Town Street Parade on 2 January as successful as this.

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