The Pageant of Union

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The Pageant of Union (also known as The Pageant of South Africa) was a public theatrical event held in Cape Town in October of 1910 to celebrate the inauguration of the new state.

It took the form of an Extravaganza, held on the Cape Foreshore to celebrate the Union of South Africa in 1910. The pageant was directed by Frank Lascelles, the British master of spectacles, and featured amateur-players from Cape Town as well as from other towns. (The pageant apparently took place in October of that year) It comprised a series of scenes from South African colonial history, culminating in the moment of Union, with scenes of "landfall" and "first encounter" repeated throughout the pageant's progress (sequentially the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the 1820 Settlers from Britain). Scenes of covenant and friendship and their converse, sworn enmity, are intermingled with images of the bringing of Christianity and civilization, to illustrate newness, dawning, light within the darkness. Over this all the figure of the Queen – Britannia, Elizabeth, Victoria – dominated the passage of her heroes on the stage.

A souvenir booklet called Historical Sketch and Description of the Pageant Held at Cape Town on the Occasion of the Opening of the First Parliament of the Union of South Africa was published in the same year.


Collect Southern Africa website [1]

Loren Kruger. 2020. A Century of South African Theatre. Methuen Drama.

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