Busking and event programme across the Central CBD for the public to enjoy

Buskers from all walks of life are busy livening up the Cape Town CBD as part of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) “Come Back To Town” campaign to reinvigorate the economy of downtown Cape Town.

The programme, which has played itself out on the streets of the city centre since the beginning of November, has given a varied group of young buskers the chance the hone their skills in front of delighted passers-by – and pass round their hats at the same time.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos says the aim of the busking programme – and the Come Back To Town campaign – is to “bring life back to the streets of the Central City” to support the many retailers who have struggled to stay afloat since the harsh lockdown regulations were enforced at the end of March.

Says Evangelinos: “The coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdown have wrought havoc on the CBD economy and as a result the footfall into the CBD has dropped. We would like to invite people, from workers to business owners to tourists, to come back to town to rediscover what they have been missing.

“Local businesses in the Cape Town CBD need our support now more than ever before and the aim of the campaign is to encourage people to come back to town and enjoy the likes of buskers on the streets of the CBD.”

Besides the busking programme, the CCID is also working with other arts and entertainment partners to offer pop-up performances, including the Zip Zap Circus School and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

According to Terri Carter, co-ordinator of the busking programme, each performance is carefully curated and includes hip-hop dancing, a five-piece marimba band, guitarists, singers and beatbox performers. There are four acts a day – on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – between 12h00 and 14h00 at various locations including Thibault Square, the corner of St Georges Mall and Waterkant Street, the corner of St Georges Mall and Castle Street and in Government Avenue at the Arch for Arch. Augmenting the street entertainment is Dry Lemon Entertainment and The Waterfront Theatre School. Says Carter: “We have chosen public spaces around the CBD which are best suited to specific busking acts. We also rotate the acts to keep the performances fresh.”

Carter says the programme gives the buskers, who are all amateurs, the opportunity get experience and generate an income.

Busker Mawonga Gayiya, a magician who learnt the tricks of his trade from his brother, says after these tough times, it is enriching to entertain the public. “I love busking as it’s impromptu. You meet strangers with whom I get to share my magic – and in these times we can all do with a bit of magic in our lives!”

iKamva Marimba Band player Kwanele Mayoli agrees, saying: “It is great to be able to entertain people after the lockdown. Our five-man band does our own songs, covers and Christmas carols, and we play on African instruments made of wood. I started playing the marimbas in 2003 at church and now we now busk, and play at weddings, events and funerals.”

While the CCID’s busking programme ends next week, the City of Cape Town is planning a night-time busking programme to entertain visitors to the CBD from 16 December to 8 January 2021. More details below.

Other City Centre events taking place in December and January: 

Zip Zap Circus School on Thibault Square

The public are in for a special treat as members of the Zip Zap Circus School present a free pop-up performance on Thibault Square from 12h00 to 14h00 on Wednesday 9th December. If you miss it, they will also return early next year for a second performance. Watch the CCID’s Facebook page for more details.

Join the Circus Zip Zap style, 11 – 20 December 2020

If you miss them on the 9th, the acclaimed Zip Zap Circus is back after many months of being closed during the lockdown. Its new show, “A Circus Picnic”, takes to the stage between 11 and 20 December in the professional performing company’s own Dome. A proudly South-African, family-friendly blend of traditional and contemporary circus, infused with humour, dance and exhilarating circus aerials and acrobatics, “A Circus Picnic” is one not to miss. Pack your cushions, picnic blankets and low-lying chairs for a show like no other. Tickets cost between R90 and R120 per person and doors open at 17h30. The show starts at19h00 and ends by 21h00. Get a sneak peek on YouTube then book your own tickets here: https://www.quicket.co.za/organisers/2569-zip-zap-circus/.

City of Cape Town Busking Programme

The City of Cape Town will roll out a night-time busking programme from 16 December to 8 January with a variety of performers entertaining visitors to the CBD from Wednesdays to Saturdays from 16h00 to 21h00. The venues are Greenmarket Square, and the corners of Bree & Shortmarket streets, Strand & Bree streets and Bree & Buiten streets.

Ride with Rook Cycles

On Thursday nights, join a night cycle with Rook Cycles. Originally started as a night ride for Rook staff, the event quickly grew in popularity and is now a weekly ride that is also open to the public. The 20 to 25 km route – which changes every week – is suitable for all fitness levels. Cyclists can use their own bike or rent one for the evening for R100. Riders meet at the Rook shop at 295 Long Street at 18h30 and leave at 19h00 for a unique view of the city. You may want to take a sweater as the weather is still a bit unpredictable. For information visit the Rook website or follow them on @rookcycles or www.facebook.com/rookcycles.

Gin-gin at Station on Bree

Looking for another good reason to visit the City on a Thursday? The London-inspired Station on Bree has introduced a range of live entertainment for all to enjoy, along with delicious pub grub-style food and drinks. With many gin varieties on offer, including Black Rose, Hope Gin and Juniper Moon, patrons won’t go thirsty. Pop in for a single shot or stay the evening and make it a double. Visit https://thestation.capetown/ for more information.

“Big Sister” at Gate 69, a premier cabaret theatre
The Trolley Dollies will lift your spirits with their humour after spending lockdown in self-imposed silence. In Big Sister, they “dish the dirt as they see it on the alarming events of the past few months”. Book your spot and let your hair down at Gate 69. For more information, contact www.gate69.co.za.

Go LOCAL at Heritage Square with Liam Tomlin, set to open soon

Foodie aficionados will be happy to hear that LOCAL, the latest venture from Chef Liam Tomlin, will open imminently at Heritage Square. Downstairs, the venue will sell a range of local grocer produce, including olive oil, salt brands, local fish, meat, charcuterie, cheese, bread and chocolate, as well as Adene’s farm flowers and many other delectable goods. Upstairs, Tomlin will open a Middle Eastern eating bar called ‘Mazza in Cape Town’, which pays homage to Beirut and represents the 17 countries of the Middle East.

The Cape Town City Ballet returns to the stage at Artscape, 10th – 12th December

The Cape Town City Ballet in collaboration with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra) under the baton of Brandon Phillips are proud to be back on stage at Artscape this December.

Presenting two works, George Balanchine’s exquisite Serenade, & Moon Behind the Clouds, a suite of works made during the time of Covid-19, by seven South African choreographers, including Veronica Paeper. Laced together through the timeless text of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata this emotive & inspirational suite will be narrated by Marcel Meyer.  The Orchestra accompanies the Ballet in the renowned works of Tchaikovsky, Massenet, Barber, Satie, Delibes & Mahler. Tickets cost between R300 and R500 and can be bought here.

Cape Town Opera Chorus Spirituals Concert at Groote Kerk: 14th – 15th January 2021

Opera lovers will be wowed by this special event that takes place at The Groote Kerk in January. After sell-out performances both locally and across Europe, this renowned chorus is a new programme of African and American spirituals. Choreographed by Shaun Oelf and with an addition of young artist, Brittany Smith, this uplifting programme will delight music enthusiasts. All alert Level 1 protocols will be observed and seating is limited, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Doors open at 18h15. Tickets are available at Quicket.

For more events and information on what to do in the Central City, visit the CCID’s website at www.capetownccid.org or follow on Facebook.com/CapeTownCCID.