Cape Town city celebrates the start of the Festive Season with the 50th staging of the Festive Lights Switch-On. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Cape Town kept its reputation as the festival capital of the world when thousands of people converged on Adderley Street and surrounding areas to witness the annual switching-on of the festive lights, signalling the start of the festive season.

The crowds gathered the city streets Sunday evening as the festive lights were switched on serving as a starting point to the holiday season.

A diverse group of people all gathered together on Sunday night as they celebrated togetherness and diversity which was the motivation behind this years theme known as ‘Window to the World’. 

Mayor Dan Plato said: ‘‘The switching-on of the festive lights is something all of Cape Town looks forward to as it signals the start of the festive season. This year’s theme focuses on diversity, which is what Cape Town reflects, and different communities across the city are part of this celebration of togetherness and sharing.”

There were hundreds of traders selling food, toys and gifts at the event, and performing artists had the crowds cheering and dancing. Among them were performers from the Zip Zap Circus, Early B, The Unknown Dance Crew, Andries Vermeulen, YoungstaCPT, Gemini, Ndlovu Youth Choir and Sho Madjozi.

The construction of the lights, maintenance and the staging of the Festive Lights Switch-On event has a team of approximately 1505 people. The lights has an estimated consumption of 420 Amps in total.

Nontembiso La Ntesh, from Langa, said: “I come every year because it is the right place to be. It’s the place where we show our diversity in Cape Town.”

But the public were urged to be extra-vigilant with the holiday season starting. Manager of safety and security in the Cape Town Central City Improvement District Muneeb Hendricks said they deployed the maximum number of public safety officers to the periphery of the event and concentrated on eliminating factors that contributed to crimes. 

He said they hoped people would enjoy themselves responsibly. 

Over 350 City policing staff including Traffic, Law Enforcement and Metro Police was on duty at the event. Metro Police used their drones as part of the crime prevention measures and had a cherry-picker vehicle to elevate some MPD officers into the centre of the event so that they could monitor the event from above and in the middle.

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