Guy Fawkes Day in Cape Town

Don’t get caught on the wrong side of the law: safe sites to discharge and 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.

THE HISTORY OF GUY FAWKES 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 known as Gunpowder Treason Day and was a religious marker meant to commemorate the King’s survival. 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.

PLACES TO WATCH & DISCHARGE FIREWORKS FOR GUY FAWKES DAY 2014 (BETWEEN 6PM AND MIDNIGHT ONLY!)

ATHLONE: Athlone Stadium parking area (eastern side) | Klipfontein Road

ATLANTIS: Wesfleur Sports Field | Reygersdal Drive

BISHOP LAVIS: Bishop Lavis Sports Field | Lavis Drive

CAMPS BAY: Maidens Cove parking area | Victoria Road

MACASSAR: Macassar Beach parking area | Macassar Road

MITCHELLS PLAIN: Swartklip Sports Complex | C/O Spine and Swartklip roads

STRANDFONTEIN: Strandfontein Pavilion

TABLE VIEW: Beachfront | Opposite the tourism centre

Also, citizens are urged to not use so-called Chinese lanterns. These candle-powered airborne lanterns are not only illegal but also considered a fire hazard. What’s more, the floating lamps resemble that of emergency flairs, which the NSRI is required to investigate and thus is a waste of valuable and expensive resources.

Law enforcement agencies will monitor the aforementioned sites.

To report fireworks that are being illegally discharged, please notify the Metro Police Control Centre on +27 (0) 86 076 5423, or the SAPS Emergency Control Centre on 10111. 

In the event of a fireworks-related emergency, contact the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre on 107 (or +27 (0) 21 480 7700 from a cellphone).

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Have a squiz at our guide to annual November events to find out about more hot happenings taking place during the month.
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