Mitchells Plain Open Streets took place on Eisleben Road on Palm Sunday. 
Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Play was the order of the day as children and adults strapped on their roller blades, grabbed their bikes and skateboards and headed to Open Streets Mitchells Plain, which spanned over 2.4 kilometres on Eisleben Road.

The event was the biggest Open Street in Mitchells Plain since its inception in 2016 and saw people dancing to the beats of a marimba band while others grabbed some chalk and tried their hand at colouring the streets.

People from all over the Cape Flats took part in the festivities and reminisced about the freedom the event brought which some remarked reminded them of the past.

Mayor Patricia de Lille opens proceedings. Video: Athina May/Cape Argus

“It’s going well, business is good, I wish I had more stuff to sell because I don’t think it will keep all day. There are many more people here than all the other years,” said Myrtle Green. “(Open Streets) is very good for the community, our children don’t know this freedom. In my day, the cars give way for you, not you for the cars. It brings lots of memories back.”

Samantha Ganga said: “It’s quite fun, walking with the kids and a pram with no obstruction or anything. It’s the second time we’re here, but this year it’s better than other years, there are more stands. You see your neighbours you haven’t seen in a while.

“It brings the community closer.”

Mayor Patricia de Lille rides in a human-powered vehicle. Video: Athina May/Cape Argus

Unite Behind also attended the event and brought 90 people from areas around Cape Town to create a united front within the city.

“We brought people from Philippi, Khayelitsha and Kraaifontein because we want people to see it’s a community project for us and expose them to events in other areas. We’re normally divided, but we want to show that we’re one,” said Unite Behind organiser Lumkile Sizile.

Open Streets director Marcela Guerrero Casas said the organisation started planning their first open streets event three years ago and did not expect it to be openly received.

A marimba band entertains the crowd. Video: Athina May/Cape Argus

“But after that first time in 2016, the feedback was amazing, and last year we did open streets again on Eisleben Road, which is a bigger road and again it was a massive success. So much so that we were requested to do a longer road, which is what we’re doing today, a 2.4km stretch.”

Guerrero Casas said the organisation had been deliberate about creating activity zones and mobility zones where participants can use different modes of transportation, because Open Streets is about moving differently around the city.

“You’ll see lots of bicycles and skateboards and people walking, it’s to show that even though you’re stuck in traffic, there are other ways of moving around, it’s kind of a demonstration project.”

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Cape Argus