Guy Fawkes Day in Cape Town

Safe sites to enjoy fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day 2014 in Cape Town 

On Wednesday, 5 November 2014, we celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (or Guy Fawkes Night) in Cape Town with explosive displays of fireworks (at designated areas) and a night sky alight with fingers of colours.

History of Guy Falkes Day

In 1605, a group of provincial English Catholics colluded to plan the assassination of the protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. However, an anonymous letter to one of the lords spoiled their plot, and Guy Fawkes – who was positioned as guard of the conspirators’ gunpowder – was caught in the cellar of the House of Parliament just after midnight on 5 November.

Thus, originally, 5 November was a religious marker meant to commemorate the King’s survival; it was made an annual public day of thanksgiving, and became known as Gunpowder Treason Day. Whereas initially Protestants burnt effigies of the Pope and devil in celebration, in later years, it became customary to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, and thus, gradually, the day became known as Guy Fawkes Day.

While the holiday has definitely lost its connection to its political and religious origins, some commonwealth countries – South Africa included - still celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with elaborate fireworks displays and bonfires (a nod to what could have been had the conspirators emerged successful).

Celebrating Guy Fawkes Day in Cape Town

In recent years in South Africa it has become illegal to discharge fireworks displays in backyards for safety and regulatory reasons; however, City of Cape Town officials have deemed certain parks and public areas safe locations for setting off certain sparklers and crackers.

Members of the public are urged to purchase fireworks from registered suppliers who can produce their permits issued by SAPS. Shop-bought fireworks discharged at approved locations are done so at the owner’s risk.

Allocated fireworks areas for Guy Fawkes Day 2013 in Cape Town (2014 sites soon to be announced)

  • Bishop Lavis Sportsfield, Lavis Drive, Bishop Lavis
  • Wesfleur Sportsfield, Reygersdal Drive, Atlantis
  • Macassar Beach parking area, Macassar Road, Macassar
  • Swartklip Sports Complex, corner Spine and Swartklip Roads, Mitchells Plain
  • Maidens Cove parking area, Victoria Road, Camps Bay
  • Athlone Stadium parking area (Eastern side), Klipfontein Road, Athlone
  • Strandfontein Pavilion, Strandfontein
  • Beachfront opposite Tourism Centre, Table View   

For any enquiries contact the City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Mayoral Committee Member Alderman J.P. Smith either by calling +27 (0) 21 400 1311 or emailing Jean-Pierre.Smith@capetown.gov.za.  

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