If there’s one thing us Capetonians love, it’s novel experiences. The Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) is offering exactly that with their Dining in the Dark events, held in benefit of the Society and the wonderful work they do.

Based in Salt River, the organisation aims to develop the abilities and skills of blind and visually impaired people, irrespective of gender, age or race through innovative training, job development and job placement programs that facilitate the creation of self-confidence as well as economic independence. 

So what’s dark dining?  No, it has nothing to do with load shedding! This unique fine dining experience lets guests enjoy a three course dinner all in complete darkness to simulate the daily life of a person with a visual impairment.

The host and waiters are all visually impaired. “And while the world swirls with talk of soft skills like empathy and what they mean in this seemingly de-sensitised digital, always-on world – putting ourselves into somebody else’s shoes is not something we do often, or willingly,” writes Selene Brophy on News24 after attending one such dinner. “We shuffle. Awkwardly. I lose my grip on the shoulder of my dinner companion in front of me. I feel sudden panic, even though I know I’m in a safe space.”

“But the most profound concept of the experience is that I’m all too aware that, unlike me, my hosts are still visually impaired, even though the lights are now back on,” she added. “Yet, they are smiling from ear to ear, delighting in our reactions and comments about the extraordinary evening.”

The dark dining events are organised sporadically or upon request when there is enough interest. To learn more or keep an eye out for the next event, follow the CTSB’s Facebook page.

Picture: Pexels


Article written by

Anita Froneman