Cape Town is in the grip of an unprecedented crisis that has brought many of us to question our role in society. Open Streets Cape Town is no exception. We turn five this year and, despite our success in laying the foundation for a programme of car-free days in the city, we find ourselves wondering. What does such a programme mean in light of seemingly more pressing issues? What can we do to help when things are going badly for the city?
Although there is no single answer to these questions, we believe there is a real opportunity to use Open Streets as a platform to energise communities. In times of crisis, you cannot overstate the importance of connecting with others. And what is Open Streets but a great connector?
This is why we encourage people to use Open Streets Days as a platform for troubleshooting, problem solving and building solidarity. Coming together in shared space, we can help find ways of responding to the issues we are facing as a society.
The big issue right now is, of course, the drought and our taps running dry in May.
One way we can make our mark on this is through the "Hack the Water Crisis" event that will coincide with Open Streets Main Road on 25 February. Its aim is to bring people together to share information, develop new technologies, ask the important questions and, find and share DIY solutions that work for the average citizen.
Many of our activity organisers will also focus on water at Open Streets Main Road:
- WWF will have a water-wise hub disseminating info about the crisis. Visitors will also be able to make their commitments to saving water in photo frames, which the WWF will post on its social media platforms.
- ActionArte Foundation SA will be doing a performance with circus/theatre skills around the theme of water
- Miss Earth South Africa water awareness campaign “WATER Cape Town” co-hosted by explore4knowledge which aims to raise awareness around the need to save water for the future will conclude its Day Zero education campaign at Open Streets.
Open Streets also offers plenty of other, less formal ways of engaging with the water crisis. If you have any ideas, please let us know. Else, we’ll see you on the street, where we hope you’ll stop and chat and share your thoughts!
If, like us, you’re more than a little worried about what’s going to happen when Day Zero arrives, check out the WWF’s series of top tips and info to prepare you.
Photo by Brandon Challis