Festival ready to rock the ’Plain

Kelly McKenzie, Ward 50 councillor Angus McKenzie, director of Safeline Rochelle Philander, Sub-council 12 chairperson Solomon Philander, Mitchells Plain festival founder and director Rozario Brown, member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Ricardo Mackenzie, his wife Chernice Mackenzie and Sub-council 23 chairperson Elton Jansen. Picture: Adrian Bothma

Performers, stallholders, exhibitors and organisers of the 11th annual Mitchell’s Plain Festival are all set to welcome tens of thousands of festival-goers to Westridge Gardens this weekend.

But before the official festivities begin, key festival stakeholders were treated to a gala dinner at the Nelson Mandela Boulevard Garden Court on Saturday November 23. The annual event marks the official launch of the festival which takes place from Friday 29 November to Sunday December 1.

The City of Cape Town has also signed a new three-year agreement with the organisers of the DStv Mitchell’s Plain Festival, offering their support through the provision of City and event services like electricity, law enforcement, Metro police, traffic management , fire and rescue, solid waste, disaster risk management as well as a waiver of venue costs for Westridge Gardens.

The DStv Mitchell’s Plain Festival attracts close to 40 000 people every year and this year the line-up includes local music acts, DJs and children’s entertainment.

Figures show that more than 300 000 people have attended the festival since its inception, said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, in a statement released to the media.

It has also provided a platform to around than 1 500 local entrepreneurs to exhibit and sell their products in that period, he said.

At the launch on Saturday, Nombulelo Msesiwe, principal of Heinz Park Primary School, which is supported by the festival, said the school was grateful to festival director Rozario Brown and his team who had sponsored the school’s prom for the fourth year. This year’s event was held at the Capetonian Hotel on Wednesday November 20.

“Our children face many challenges. We met Mr Brown and we appreciate what he has done for us as a school and as the community,” she said.

Norman Jantjes, chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA), said they wanted to unite the community to collectively create a better area.

“We focus on safety, security and economic development. The more jobs we create, the safer Mitchell’s Plain will become.

“We are proud to be associated with the festival. It is our first time in partnership. It’s a privilege to be a part of this festival. I hope we can make this work for everyone,” he said.

Ricardo MacKenzie, member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, said he had worked in Mitchell’s Plain for the past six years and had attended the festival for almost as long as it has been running.

“It’s important for us to support the festival in our community. We need to become ambassadors for Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.

Chairperson of Sub-council 23, Elton Jansen, congratulated the festival for no incidents of crime and no alcohol at the event. “That should be celebrated,” he said.

Chairperson of Sub-council 12, Solomon Philander, said: “We can have fun without alcohol, and you do not find an event like this anywhere in Cape Town. You may think about our area in a negative light but this festival is a good thing for our community. The community looks forward to this event this week,” he said.

Chantel Erfort, editor of Cape Community Newspapers, which publishes the Plainsman said, having taken part in a road race that morning, which made its way through the dunes and along the beach, she was reminded that Mitchell’s Plain is “so much more than the crime reports we read in the paper”.

“We need to tell the stories of hope. We all choose to be a part of making this festival a success, that’s why we have all gathered at the event. And in this milestone year for the Plainsman, which celebrates its 40th anniversary, it is a privilege for us to be a part of this festival,” she said

Mayor Dan Plato said blood, sweat and tears had gone into this festival. “People didn’t know what to make of the event and were sceptical in the beginning, but Mr Brown persevered and put his shoulder to the wheel,” he said.

“He was not going to give up. Today, it is part of the city’s events calendar, we recognise the festival. The festival is taking off as the years go on, getting better and better.”

Mr Brown urged residents to pre-book their tickets to avoid long queues.

Tickets for the festival are R50 for persons over the age of 12, R30 for children 6 to 12 years old, while entry is free for pensioners and children under six.

More pictures on page 30.