Looking back on 2018

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is a contemporary art museum located at the V&A Waterfront. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

It has been a year of new beginnings for the city centre as well as the V&A Waterfront, as many of the old spaces had new life breathed into them.

One of those was the Waterfront’s newest “art district”, the Silo District, which last year, had launched its centre of attention, the Zeitz MOCAA, the only contemporary museum dedicated to art in Africa.

Only four months after its launch, the Zeitz MOCAA had already won a number of awards (“World’s eyes on Zeitz’”, CapeTowner, February 18).

The building, designed by Heatherwick Studios, was converted from a historic grain silo.

The Waterfront also opened the Battery Urban Park, the first inner city park, sporting a canal, fields and play areas, and people can look forward to a bungee tower at the Silo District in the new year (‘Bungee tower approved”, CapeTowner, September 27).

The Cape Town International Convention Centre 2 opened its doors earlier this year, to accommodate the growing events and business sector (“Newly constructed CTICC 2 unveiled”, CapeTowner, February 1).

The CTICC 2 brought an additional six exhibition halls, four meeting suites, five meeting pod rooms, an executive boardroom, three open terraces and coffee shop and a multi-level parking garage.

A sky bridge was later constructed to join the two centres, so that events can be held across both spaces.

The East City was named the precinct of possibilities after the area saw a flurry of residential development (“East City of opportunity”, CapeTowner, May 10).

The precinct has also undergone many upgrades throughout the year, such as that of the City Hall and Church Square (“Reinventing precinct”, CapeTowner, March 2 2017) as well as 61 Harrington Street, previously The Assembly (“Memories ‘assembled’ as music venue closes”, CapeTowner, August 11, 2016), which was transformed into three night-time venues.

The City also spent R1 million to restore the Lightfoot Memorial Fountain on Trafalgar Place – home to Cape Town’s iconic flower market. The revamp is still in the process (“Fresh face for fountain”, CapeTowner, September 20), and the Old Granary building had also received a facelift.

And while the new buildings and revamps across the city were celebrated, other buildings were causing problems for police.

The derelict building on the Station Deck, belonging to the Passenger Railway Association of South Africa (PRASA) has become a headache for police, who said the plot had become a haven for parolees and gangs who are involved in robberies in the area, drug dealing and prostitution (“Building breeds crime”, CapeTowner, March 29).

According to Prasa, the building has been earmarked for future development.

Residents who live near CPUT’s condemned building in Caledon Street were up in arms with the problems they have been experiencing. The building was gutted in the Fees Must Fall protests, and had still not been secured. The grass on the surrounding fields, which served as a hideout for suspected criminals, has since been cut. However, efforts still have to be made to secure the plot, or possibly demolish the building (“Upset over condemned CPUT site”, CapeTowner November 1).

The Company’s Garden had also been an area riddled with crime this past year. The sundial had been stolen, and it was the site of an attack on a homeless man who was stabbed, as well as a murder the day after the Switching on of the Lights Festival earlier this month.

The Foreshore Freeway project, which has been put on hold following the cancellation of bids by the City, is yet to be revived (“Freeway Project ‘put on hold’”, CapeTowner, July 26).

Cape Town station had also suffered as a result of a number of carriages being set alight in the past few months. At least 15 carriages had been destroyed, however, no injuries were reported. The arson attacks were condemned by authorities, however, no one had been arrested.

The CCID also embarked on a number of upliftment projects this year. The Long Street bin project, in conjunction with Khulisa, was started to prevent the mess caused by bin pickers, where businesses collectively leave their bins out for trucks to come and empty them (“Project to keep CBD grime free”, CapeTowner, February 8).

The project had also seen four homeless people becoming employed, having managed the project by collecting, guarding and then returning bins to the owners.

Another project by the City of Cape Town for the homeless was introduced this year. The Safe Space, under Culemborg Bridge, was launched in June, to address the shortage of beds at shelters and the restrictive rules at such places (“Haven for the homeless”, CapeTowner, March 1).

The Safe Space had since been a wedding venue for a homeless couple, and a space where 230 people could access services, receive their IDs and a number of reunification projects.

The Cape Town police also had their hands full this year, as they remain the number one contributor to crime nationally.

Long Street had continued to be the crime hot spot, with the grabbing of cellphones and chains, and theft out of motor vehicle becoming popular (“Long Street buckles under crime”, CapeTowner, May 3).

Police have also battled with a group of about 25 street children, who were responsible for some of the crime in the city (“Tale of city’s lost boys”, CapeTowner, April 19).

The boys, who travel to the city via train, were often caught snatching chains, stealing, and aggressively begging.

The CCID as well as the police had battled with ATM fraud, as it significantly increased the year before.

The Cape Town Central police had also arrested a suspect for the murder of Irish charity worker John Curran, 60,who was killed in his flat in Buitengracht Street (“Murder mystery in the city”, CapeTowner, November 15).

Cape Town had to make every effort to save water, with the drought hitting the Western Cape hard at the beginning of the year.

This year, the CapeTowner had also introduced some interesting people, one of them being Abriella Bredell, an 11-year-old girl who set a new world record for being the youngest person to swim the Robben Island Channel (“Abriella, 11, completes record swim”, CapeTowner, February 18).

Marlin Kolbe, a blind telephone operator at Cape Town Central police, was the runner up for the SAPS excellence awards in the disability category (“Police honour Marlin for excellence”, CapeTowner, February 15).

Cape Town bade farewell to Ma Winnie Madikizela Mandela at the St George’s Cathedral (“Mourners bid Ma Winnie farewell”, CapeTowner, April 12).

Artist Garth Wareley painted a mural of the struggle icon in Longmarket Street in her memory (“Capturing the many facets of Winnie”, CapeTowner, April 26).

The St Marks Church community in District Six was saddened by the loss of Dougie Snyders, who had been arranging flowers for the church for the past 60 years (“Forget me not”, CapeTowner, March 22).

Theodore Yach, who was instrumental in the establishment of the CCID, also died of a heart attack. Mr Yach was an avid swimmer (“CCID ‘visionary’ remembered”, CapeTowner, October 25).

Like all big cities, Cape Town has its good and bad, however, the city walked away with the title of the world’s leading festival and events destination at the 2018 Travel Awards, which makes everyone look forward to bright 2019 (“Cape Town top of the pile”, CapeTowner, December 6).