A friend of mine briefly mentioned this street skateboarding festival that was going down in Obs, and being a skateboarding fan, I was amped. I rallied together a few friends, and set out to find this happening, equipped with my ‘mik en druk’ APS film camera.
Let me just tell you straight off the bat, that upon arriving, I was amazed.
Lower Main Road had been closed off to traffic and the street was filled with people, young and old. It was almost as if I had set foot into a new era, where everyone just got along and the world was at peace.
There were people on bicycles, people on skateboards and rollerblades. Kids were drawing with chalk in the road, playing soccer or listening to stories being told. There were old ladies with dreadlocks chatting away. There were people protesting about living conditions in Marikana, civilly. The Afrodizzy Acts were out and about on stilts and showcasing freakish baby masks. Mimes, hula-hoops, fire dancing, and a gigantic wooden dinosaur. People were smiling from ear to ear.
Never have I seen such a diversity and array of happenings in one place. It worked perfectly. In this street, this is where I belonged. It felt like home.
I found out that this was all made possible by an organization called Open Streets. A citizen-driven initiative, whose goal is to design and promote the usage of our streets for all.
Here is their manifesto:
Cape Town’s streets could be much more than they are. By embracing the concept of Open Streets, all of us who use them can create places that embody respect for everyone. We, the people of Cape Town, believe that streets should be:
Welcoming to all
Places for movement , recreation and expression
In harmony with local cultures and values
Able to meet changing needs
Contributing to a healthy society and thriving business
Part of distinctive and active neighbourhoods
Friends of Open Streets support these principles, and undertake:
To treat with respect and courtesy all who use our streets
To actively create inclusive public streets
To find ways to bridge the social divides of our city
In short: to actively create streets that embody and generate respect for all the people who use them, regardless of who they are and how they move.
I feel that my words inadequately describe the vibrancy of this day, so hopefully my images will do it justice. Much respect to Open Streets. I hope to photograph many more events like this one in the near future.
Written by Lauren Smit – check out her blog for more Analog loving