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New Year’s Eve 2020: Reimagining the way we celebrate amid COVID-19

December is not just a month in South Africa, it’s a lifestyle.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africans prepare to dance and drink their way into 2021, this year’s festive season will be dramatically different – with COVID-19 restrictions on socialising forcing many to re-imagine the way they celebrate.

While some restrictions have been gradually eased - particularly for restaurants and bars – there’s been next to no mention about the much-adored club scene.

December is not just a month in South Africa, it’s a lifestyle.

But just as thousands were preparing their holiday plans this time around, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced a second wave as the number of coronavirus infections grew.

READ: South Africa experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 – Mkhize

“It’s important for us to now recognize that this now is a second wave. We now need to understand that we have a responsibility to enjoy life with various restraints.”

WATCH: Mkhize: Expect faster rise in COVID-19 cases in second wave

When nightlife was cancelled during the hard lockdown, the entertainment industry was hard hit and forced to become innovative by turning to technology and going virtual

Creative director at event company Enlightentainment, Bongo Kabingesi, said night clubs were a sacred space for some and had always been about more than just loud music.

But he urged club owners to adopt a new way of doing things - without exposing people to the coronavirus

“We’ve been creating events for the past year across the different cities in Johannesburg and Cape Town and we’ve had to in real time face the new challenges, adaptively and envolvingly, as the weeks go by,” said Kabingesi.

Virtual clubbing took on a life of its own for the better part of this year - with performances from some of the biggest names in the world like Coldplay and John Legend to our very own DJ Black Coffee, Scorpion Kings and Black Motion.

Despite the relative success of virtual club nights, Kabingesi said they were still no substitute for the real thing.

“The entire month of November coming into December, we were running livestreams every single week. The last livestream that we did was an entire concert.”

He said you could hear music anywhere - but it was the connection that kept partygoers coming back for more - and that was what they were all desperately seeking.

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