There were many fun firsts in Merrydale Avenue on Sunday April 3 – first rides and first falls at the first Open Streets for Mitchell’s Plain.
Whatever it was, I saw smiles coming from the young and old, making their way through the streets with scooters, roller-skates, skateboards and even wheelchairs. The area was buzzing with activity. Dancers showed off their break-dancing moves and rappers were spitting lyrics. Most of them were singing and rapping about life, traditions by the people of the “Plain” and this had the crowd on their feet.
When I first heard Open Streets was coming to Mitchell’s Plain in sub-council last year I was super excited. Honestly, I didn’t think it would happen, due to the negative comments from councillors.
Open Streets has only been in Bree Street in Cape Town, Langa and Bellville. So how fortunate is Mitchell’s Plain to have an event of this nature in the area. After all, there are so many suburbs in Cape Town.
Each Open Streets event I attended had a different feel. In Cape Town, it was a classy and hippish vibe, in Langa there was a township feel, with cultural dancers and crafting.
As Marcela Guerrero Casas, co-founder of Open Streets, opened the event in Mitchell’s Plain, I could see the eagerness of children and the curiosity of the residents. The moment ward councillor Eddie Andrews cut the ribbon, the music switched on and Mitchell’s Plain artists and performers wowed us all with their talent. I have to say Mitchell’s Plain has talent.
While interviewing Ms Casas, she said Mitchell’s Plain is a unique area with active residents.
“Mitchell’s Plain feels like home, people are friendly and pro-active. Working with the community was amazing and the event was very successful,” she said.
I agree with her, and, personally, the Mitchell’s Plain experience was different. Good different. There was so much energy in one street. I felt at home, and watching the performances, I felt proud of the residents of the area that I grew up in.
Hours after the event, I logged on to Twitter. We were trending number 3 with the #MitchellsPlain. Yay, how cool is that? It was a fantastic event, and I hope there will be another Mitchell’s Plain Open Streets event next year.