Had I with my friend Ute Hermanus and German Tourist Gloria not been so keen to experience the Street Festival in Bo-Kaap, we would have turned around when we passed three local ladies coming from the Festival, telling us that there was barely any Cape Malay food available, hot dogs mainly offered.
We were surprised that parking was so readily available and that there was no traffic blockage at all. That should have been a further warning.
The Street Festival is one of a series which have seen various Cape Town streets in various suburbs closed off, and the community coming together to enjoy the food of the restaurants in the area, and entertained by musical entertainment.
In April Regent Road was closed in Sea Point, and we loved the atmosphere and vibe, and meeting up with friends one had not seen in a long time.
Yesterday about a third of Rose Street was closed and all of Wale Street from Buitengracht upwards. It was so gridlocked on the corner of Wale and Rose Streets that we had to squeeze our way through to photograph Cape Malay musicians on a stage. As we arrived at 16h00 we heard the voice of Mayor Geordin Lewis-Hill in the far distance, welcoming the crowd.
We saw a number of persons standing on the top balcony of a building, to see what was happening in Wale Street, the entertainers not standing on a high enough stage to be seen. We were bullied by the owner of the Against the Grain coffee shop, playing bouncer and without a welcome, not allowing us to go upstairs without buying and paying for a beverage each! There are no tables and chairs on the top level, with only a few bean bags. It took half an hour to receive our beverages, having paid for them in full upfront, as demanded.
As we were told, the food sold on Rose Street was disappointing, barely Cape Malay and more fast food such as popcorn, hotdogs, and more, with long queues and waiting times, it becoming a concert more than a Food Festival. I only found cupcakes to photograph.
I was disappointed that so few other Capetonians attended the Festival – maybe they had already left in disappointment – only seeing one other person who was not from the area, and I saw photographs of Werner and Rose Klein having been there, having found a table at Bo-Kaap Deli, making it an almost exclusive Bo-Kaap resident event.
I had shown Gloria around Bo-Kaap the day before, and invited her to join us so that she could taste the different Cape Malay foods. I was very disappointed for her. It felt badly organised, the City’s green bins overflowing with litter! We spent just over R100 for three beverages between the three of us, not buying anything else as we saw nothing that we wanted to eat!
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide