Brews & Views: Finding Neighborhood Treasures
Cape Town, home to one of the seven wonders of the world, boasts unrivalled coastlines, scenic routes and a buzzing metropolitan culture. The Mother City undoubtedly ranks quite high on any world traveller’s bucket list. When you think of Cape Town, it’s natural to think of Greenpoint, Seapoint, Long Street and the like as the hotspots for unforgettable cultural and urban experiences. However, today we introduce to you a township 28 km from Cape Town’s City Centre: Westridge, Mitchells Plain.
For Capetonians our natural inclination is to move outside of our townships to experience unique events and charming cafes. But, the grass isn’t always greener, and in Westridge, it doesn’t even have to be green. Think colourful murals, masterfully transforming the regular concrete walls around the house, into a modern art walkway. A buzzing brew-spot to visit on your morning coffee-run. Westridge is fast becoming a leading tourist attraction in Cape Town. Let’s take a little trip.
Brews & Views, a new tourism show launched this month, explores some gems in this precinct, as the tagline promises. Mr Pres and Robynne, the hosts chat to local community leaders, art enthusiasts, vendors, music lovers and more, to truly get a feel for what Westridge has to offer and if anything, it merely teases the senses, leaving us excited for what’s to come from this new and budding urban art-cum-culture hub.
We all know about a garage band, and that idea is a little understated when it came to what inspired Stanford Samaai’s vision for his backyard garage. Stanford transformed his garage into a music and studio performance space where local comedians and bands could showcase their talent. When the door is pulled down, it is hard to imagine what lies behind. But the local community have flocked to this space to see live performances taking place in an unlikely spot that would otherwise have remained hidden. Stanford has equipped his garage with quality sound, and decorative lighting, to create an intimate performance space – where the audience can be transported to another realm for a moment in time. The Mocha Lounge is a family-friendly must-visit for any tourist who wants to know what local talent looks and sounds like. One Mocha Lounge visitor said “I’ve actually been knocked out of my shoes now this evening […] I can enjoy a lekker chilled evening with some nice music…”
Cape Town has an arts and culture experience every first Thursday of the month. Music and art enthusiasts explore what’s new on the scene and get an immersive experience when attending designated art pop-ups or galleries and live performances around the city. Westridge does not hold back when it comes to this highly anticipated day of the month. The community transforming vision of RLabs, an organization based in Westridge, initiated the concept of an art experience each first Thursday at RLabs House. At RLabs House, a local artist’s work is displayed throughout the rooms in this modern, art-deco styled Airbnb. Art enthusiasts can indulge in the work of the artist, by attending an exhibition completely free of charge. An art enthusiast from Rocklands in Mitchells Plain says “the mere fact that I have access to this art gallery and all this beautiful art […] it just blows my mind that I have it on my doorstep”
Market vendors at the RLabs First Thursday event in Westridge, have also greatly benefited from the huge influx of people. It is a boost to their small business and has generated an income that as one vendor put it was “just what I needed.”
Christine Nichola Taphel (newly-appointed CEO of Rlabs South Africa) “we are quite intentional about challenging the status quo so all the stereotypes about Mitchells Plain [like] nothing good can come from Mitchells Plain, […] we are about changing exactly that. In the last 14 months we’ve already attracted 4000 people to Mitchells Plain.”
If I were you, I’d be curious to find out what would make over 4000 people flock to Westridge. Is it the art experience, live performances at Mocha Lounge, the unique items sold at the market, whatever it is, I imagine it is best experienced in real time. I wonder what else this cultural nook has to offer?
To keep up with this new tourism show: Brews & Views and learn more about local gems you can experience in Westridge, Mitchells Plain, follow the Westridge Tourism Precinct on social media.