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.