Travel and Tourism

Come out and play #OpenStreetsCT

Today Bree Street was car free and Capetonians took to the streets in all their creative and diverse quirkiness.

Open Streets is a great initiative that brings out the playfulness in all ages. It creates a space that encourages interaction, smiles, raising awareness, dressing up, singing, laughing, performing and parading.

For me Open Streets was a celebration of everyone and everything that is good about Cape Town.


At 9am when I arrived at I love my laundry for a cup of wake up coffee, Bree street was practically deserted apart from an interesting skater from Africa Skate, an initiative that aims to promote skating as the healthy sport it is, and to connect and share skating news and events. The impressive guy who runs it, is passionate about teaching skating to kids and promoting the sport. He was joined by a volunteer from Salesions who have a skate park, open to all, but also where under-privileged kids can learn and benefit from this discipline.  These two guys provided the various ramps, grinding bars and boxes for the day and Africa Skate are active participants in the planning and shaping of Open Streets.

Is it a sign of the times that after chatting for an hour I still do not know either of these guys names, but we have connected on Twitter and Instagram?

I must have spent 3 of the 5 hours I was in Bree Street watching the skate boarders. They are highly athletic, surprisingly graceful, except when they fall, which is often, and looks spectacular and painful. What impressed me the most was their unwavering perseverance. Clearly it takes endless hours of practise to make it appear so effortless.


While watching the skaters there seemed to be no end to the alternative modes of transport used to explore the streets. Bicycles of all shapes and sizes including Uni cycles, 3 wheelers, and a strange contraption that appeared to be a single fat wheel under a small platform on which you precariously balance!

Stilts, push scooters and roller blades, but surprisingly not one Segway!


The people walking did so while blowing bubbles, twirling hoola hoops or stopping to play giant scrabble, chess or to join in various forms of chalk art on the road.

A yoga class was held in the middle of the street next to a hotdog stand, while breakdancers strutted their stuff on the other side.

One of the attractions that drew a large admiring crowd were the pole dancers. This is an activity that requires both suppleness and strength, and is something I will never attempt as I would definitely fall and break my head.


The music was not too loud and varied from Mariba sounds and African drumming, to an enthusiastic choir and the sultry tones that accompanied the dancers doing the tango .


On a more serious note, three young people stood unmoving for 5 hours in the sun in a silent protest. A sobering reminder to all of us that Nigeria is our neighbour and needs our support in the fight against Boko Haram.


#OpenStreetsCT is a great excuse to get out, have fun and do something a little different.

I can’t wait for the next one which I heard will be held in Langa.

For more information visit, follow @OpenStreetCT on Twitter or find them on Face Book  

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  • Reply Francoise Armour 19th Jan 2015 at 9:22 am

    I’m so sorry I couldn’t get there! I hope the Langa one will be better than the previous one there, which I attended. It was poorly attended and the locals made very little effort – hopefully they’ve learnt from other Open Streets and will make a bigger effort.

  • Reply Firefly - Jonker 19th Jan 2015 at 12:48 pm

    A fantastic initiative. Wish they would do more of this in my part of the world.

  • Reply Di Brown 19th Jan 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Francoise, I have high hopes for the Langa event. I am sure everyone is learning as they go along.

  • Reply Di Brown 19th Jan 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Jonker. Perhaps you should go onto the Open Streets website and propose the idea to your local council. Imagine an event like that leading up to the Donkin Reserve! Good luck.

  • Reply Ryan Biddulph 27th Jan 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Di I love the energy in the photos! So much fun and playfulness here. The pole dancing is nuts but I wouldn’t dream of being the guy on stilts; give me 2 seconds until I fall and bust my bum lol. Thanks for sharing the fun images and story Di!


    • Reply Di Brown 28th Jan 2015 at 7:43 am

      Thanks Ryan.It was a fun day, totally bouncing with the unique Cape Town energy.

  • Reply Be a local in Cape Town. 8 regular events where visitors are welcomed. | The Roaming Giraffe 21st Apr 2015 at 6:43 pm

    […] Street food, live music, static displays and  interactive fun such as giant chess or scrabble, chalk art, dancing or just strolling. Read about the Bree Street Open Streets event here […]

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