Public places

City Walk Saturdays: Fun in the sun

Cape Town Fringe Festival participants take part in the Ngumzimba Wam puppet show by Thando Baliso which encourages children to be aware of their surroundings.

The September edition of City Walk Saturdays couldn’t have asked for better weather. Cape Town’s streets and public spaces were packed with locals and visitors enjoying one of the first truly bright and sunny days of the year.

Restaurants did a brisk trade, the staff of Footgear handed out black balloons and up and down the length and breadth of City Walk were performers doing their thing. Event regulars, #100AfricanReads and Rainbow Academy, continued to capture interest. This month’s installation of #100AfricanReads was a pared down version inviting more interactivity. Kids visiting the bustling Company’s Garden drew close to hear Fleur du Cap award-winning actress Ntombi Makhutshi read from works by African authors like Gcina Mhlope outside the bustling Company’s Garden Restaurant.

At their usual station on Upper St George’s Mall, Rainbow Academy presented their intriguing “Best of Both Worlds” installation that sought to answer the question: what is a pin-up, while roaming buskers added to the mix. Also at Upper St George’s Mall, comedy magician Marcel Oudejans entranced the crowd with his fantastical feats. Further down St George’s Mall, Thando Baliso’s puppet play, Ngumzimba Wam, encouraged kids to be more aware of their surroundings.

Theatre and theatrics formed the theme of this month’s edition of City Walk Saturdays and several performers of the Cape Town Fringe Festival 2015 (which included Marcel and Thando) added to the drama of the day. Setting off from the Company’s Garden and traversing the entire length of the City Walk, Thola Antamu’s Exhibit S, Ode to Saartjie Baartman by a Black Woman, offered a powerful performance in which Thola paid homage to Sarah (Saartjie) Baartman, who was exhibited as a showpiece during the 1800s in England and Europe. At St Andrew’s Square, Imke du Toit’sturn as Milly in directors Blythe Linger and Kathleen Stephens’ adaptation of Athol Fugard’s People are Living There was another powerful, yet understated performance.

Music formed a further dimension to September’s City Walk Saturdays offering. St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was the venue for a lively performance by the JAM Strings ensemble that culminated in an instrumental rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. This was followed by the more classical stirrings of Gavin Julius and Neil Robinson who performed pieces composed especially for the organ in an event hosted by the Royal School of Church Music. This intimate piece offered insight into not only the compositions and their composers, but also a glimpse into the world of a church organist.

City Walk Saturdays takes place on the third Saturday each month. The next event is scheduled for 17 October 2015. If you’d like to take part, please email

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