Saturday was a poignant reminder that streets are intrinsically for people and despite our everyday experience, there are places where this is practiced! In Langa, the concept is well understood and lived; yet on Saturday 12 October, Rubusan Street opened up specially for us. As part of the African Creative Economy Confernce, a permanent route was officially inagurated by Maboneng Township Arts Experience in the Langa Quarter. This effectively meant ten homes on Rubusan were turned into galleries with the goal to exhibit local artists' work and to enable the public to have an inteimage experience with the artwork and home owners.
Open Streets joined to help inagurate the event and to 'test' the concept of 'Open Streets' in Langa for the first time. In the lead up to Saturday, meetings were held, permits were processed, communications were released and networks were activated. On the day, it all unfolded rather easy; a couple of rubbish bins were placed at the end points of the street and banners went up to indicate the start and end point of Open Streets.
Although protocols were followed and permits obtained from the City beforehand; there was no policing or infrastructure that woud point to anything different happening on the street that day...except... there was a giant scrabble where kids were spelling words in Xhosa, others were decorating the street with chalk, some were doing tricks on their BMX bikes and skateboards; further down a group was attentively listening to a storyteller, others dancing and then there were all those visitors from out of town.
Indeed, the day saw faces from many places; some arriving by shuttle in the morning, others by train and others by car; all eager to capture the day in their cameras, their notepads or judging from the smile in their faces in their mental section for 'special memories'.
For Open Streets Cape Town, 12 October has seen the seed been planted in the most fertile ground, where streets are already open and all we need to do is help occupy them actively and creatively.