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Ho, ho, ho! The silly season’s here!

Written by Albert Pule
The silly season is upon us and South African cities are buzzing with a feast of popular, cultural and arts events from drama to comedy, jazz and dance, arts and crafts to carnivals.

Residents of Johannesburg, Tshwane, eThekwini and Cape Town will be spoilt for choice as these urban centres prepare for thrills that will bring cheer to locals and visitors alike.

Make your pick from the following:

City of Johannesburg

Joburg attractions include:

  • Christmas lunch for the elderly during the first and second weeks of December
  • Every Child’s Birthday Lunch during the first and second weeks of December
  • The Joburg Carnival on 31 December
  • New Year's Eve Concert on 31 December
  • Sansui Summer Cup at the end of November to early December.

For more information call the City of Johannesburg Call Centre on 0860 562 874.

What’s on at the zoo?
  • A holiday programme with a touch of wildlife from 10 to 21 December. Entrance is R150 for adults and R65 for children.
  • At the Zoo Trot you can run or walk 5 or 10km every second Sunday of the month. Entrance is R40.
  • The Wild Lights at the zoo will see Christmas lights shaped like animals going up from 15 to 24 December. The zoo opens daily from 8:30am to 5pm and the last entry is at 4:30pm. Entrance is R58 for adults, while children and pensioners pay R36.

For more information call the Johannesburg Zoo on 011 646 2000.

Joburg theatre

It’s panto time at the Joburg Theatre as Jack and the Beanstalk takes to the stage. The show will be on until 16 December. Disney’s Little Mermaid, the magical underwater Disney musical, is on until 23 December.

SA State Theatre

Not to be outdone, the City of Tshwane will come alive as the Mzansi Fela Festival makes its way to the State Theatre.

The festival is a celebration of South Africa’s amazing talent in the performing arts. It is also an opportunity to uncover new actors and directors through the highly successful fieldwork programme.

Prepare to be serenaded by Zahara on 1 December, Sibongile Khumalo on the 7th, Parlotones on the 8th, and Lira on the 14th and 15th.

There will be comedy, jazz, theatre and dance galore.

There will also be shows from jazz and African music legends such as Selaelo Selota, Ngwako Manamela, Ladies in Jazz, Steve Dyer, Gcobisa and Four Seasons.

These will take place in Kilnerton on 9 December.

The Rendezvous Theatre will play host to some of the country’s freshest comedy performers such as Kedibone Mulaudzi, Toll Ass Mo, Judy Jake, Deep Fried Man and Mel Miller on 8 December.

A total of 13 productions have been chosen for the programme in 2012, showcasing the talent of young up-and-coming players in the South African arts scene.

Tickets for the productions can be purchased at Computicket and cost R30 for the public and R10 for community groups.

For more information call the South African State Theatre on 012 392 4000.

Pretoria Zoo

Get up close with nature at the Pretoria Zoo. From 10 December to the middle of February the zoo will offer holiday courses on monkey tricks, amazing reptiles and bird identification. The zoo will be open throughout the festive season.

For more information call the Pretoria Zoo on 012 339 2700.

Ethekwini Municipality

For fun-seekers heading for the coast, Durban will offer a lot of fun in the sun.

The Umhlanga Summer Carnival takes place in the coveted coastal resort of Umhlanga, north of Durban from 8 to 23 December.

The two-week carnival kicks off with the Summer Surf Session organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Surfing Association, which takes place from 8 to 10 December with well- known local surfers vying for the winning spot.

The Royal National Yacht Club Umhlanga Rocks Festival takes place on 15 and 16 December.

The oldest yacht club in Africa will be racing off shore of Umhlanga pier for the duration of the long weekend, creating a colourful backdrop for beach visitors.

For the more active and adventurous, the Umhlanga Summer Carnival 16km Trail Run takes place on 16 December.

Grab your trainers and gear up to trail through the Umhlanga coastal area for an invigorating sunrise outing starting at 6am from the Umhlanga Sands Resort. Entry forms are available from Umhlanga Tourism.

For more information call 031 312 1281 or visit  www.umhlangatourism.co.za.

Nelson Mandela Metro

In the Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth promises to be the centre of holiday fun as it plays host to the seventh Christmas @ Hopefield Country House Music Festival on 9 December at the Hopefield Country House from 3.30pm. This promises to be an afternoon of beautiful music in a country atmosphere.

The city will also host the HSBC Sevens Rugby Tournament at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium from 8 to 9 December.

For more information call the Nelson Mandela Metro on 041 506 5555.

City of Cape Town

The Mother City will be a holiday city throughout the festive season, hosting revellers from around the world.

But the highlight of the festivities promises to be the annual Cape Town Minstrels, which will bring in 2013 with a hip-swinging, foot- stomping, show-stopping New Year's carnival. According to chairperson of the Cape Town Minstrels Association Richard Stemmet all preparations are well on track and they are waiting for the day to arrive.

“Things have gone well in terms of preparation and we are ready to roll,” he said.

On 1 January all the teams will participate in the Minstrel Competition at the Athlone Stadium.

The competition will take place every Saturday until the middle of February. Each team will do 17 items.

“We also have the 2nd of January Street Parade in the heart of Cape Town where more than 100 000 spectators will line the streets to watch the minstrels do their thing. This march commemorates the freeing of the slaves,” he explained.

For more information on the  Minstrels call: 021 761 5239.