Buskers are busy livening up the Cape Town CBD as part of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) “Come Back To Town” campaign to reinvigorate the economy of downtown Cape Town.
The programme, which has been implemented since the beginning of November, has given a varied group of young buskers the chance the hone their skills in front of delighted passers-by – and pass round their hats at the same time.
CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos says the aim of the busking programme – and the Come Back To Town campaign – is to “bring life back to the streets of the Central City” to support the many retailers who have struggled to stay afloat since the harsh lockdown regulations were enforced at the end of March.
“The coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdown have wrought havoc on the CBD economy and as a result the footfall into the CBD has dropped. We would like to invite people, from workers to business owners to tourists, to come back to town to rediscover what they have been missing.
“Local businesses in the Cape Town CBD need our support now more than ever before and the aim of the campaign is to encourage people to come back to town and enjoy the likes of buskers on the streets of the CBD,” says Evangelinos.
Besides the busking programme, they are also working with other arts and entertainment partners to offer pop-up performances, including the Zip Zap Circus School and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.
Terri Carter, co-ordinator of the busking programme, says each performance is carefully curated and includes hip-hop dancing, a five-piece marimba band, guitarists, singers and beatbox performers. There are four acts a day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between midday and 2pm at various locations, including Thibault Square, the corner of St Georges Mall and Waterkant Street, the corner of St Georges Mall and Castle Street and in Government Avenue at the Arch for Arch.
Carter says the programme gives the buskers, who are all amateurs, the opportunity get experience and generate an income.
Busker Mawonga Gayiya, a magician who learnt the tricks of his trade from his brother, says after these tough times it is enriching to entertain the public.
“I love busking as it’s impromptu. You meet strangers with whom I get to share my magic – and in these times we can all do with a bit of magic in our lives!” he says.
While it ends next week, the City of Cape Town is planning a night-time busking programme to entertain visitors to the CBD from December 16 to January 8.