The CapeTowner looks back on an eventful year in the city centre after its strong recovery from the economic devastation caused by strict Covid-19 lockdowns from March 2020.
The year kicked off with thousands of people flocking to the city centre on “Tweede Nuwe Jaar”, Monday January 2, to catch a glimpse of this year’s Hollywoodbets Cape Town Street Parade. The minstrel march did not take place for two years before this due to the pandemic restrictions.
In February, during the first Cape Town Central community police forum (CPF) meeting of 2023, security authorities were congratulated for keeping incidents in the city centre as well as the city bowl at a minimum during the festive season of 2022/2023, which was the first “normal” festive season since the lockdowns started.
In March, the city centre was host to the Cape Town Carnival, which saw thousands of people line the streets along Somerset Road’s section of the Fan Walk to watch the colourful floats and dancers. The carnival was themed Afri’Energy. This was the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that the carnival returned to its original format.
In April, Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town held an energy discussion at the Cape Sun hotel in the wake of South Africa’s load shedding crisis, to engage on the issue of outages and steps being taken to mitigate the disruption.
In May, the Council of Robben Island Museum declared 2023 as the year of anti-apartheid activist Robert Sobukwe, commemorating 45 years since his death, as well as 60 years since he was first detained on Robben Island.
In June, SAPS released its quarterly crime stats, recorded between January and March 2023. The stats showed that Cape Town Central police station topped the list for the most reported community crime in the country for this period.
In July, Cape Town hosted Africa’s first Netball World Cup, which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Sixteen teams competed over 10 days to earn the honours of being named netball world champions. Australia claimed the cup.
Cape Town Tourism also launched the first blind art tour in Africa guided by Winston Fani, who is also blind, as part of its Limitless campaign, aimed at making Cape Town more accessible to everyone.
August saw a number of events in the city centre cancelled or poorly attended, including Artscape’s annual Women’s Humanity Walk, due to a violent taxi strike which forced many to stay home out of fear for their safety. The strike, which ended on August 10, was called by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) to protest the impounding of taxis. The strike left five people dead and many taxi commuters stranded for several days.
The State of the Central City report was released by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) in August, which showed strong recovery in the city’s economy after the pandemic.
During September, the Navy Festival at the Waterfront was cancelled after three South African Navy officers died when they were swept out to sea during a Navy exercise on a submarine.
St George’s Cathedral was one of several buildings damaged in a storm that wreaked havoc on the Western Cape a few days later – an old oak tree on the premises uprooted and crashed into the fence.
In October, the V&A Waterfront was host to Boatica, Africa’s largest boating exhibition, showcasing luxury boats, marine equipment, and accessories.
The city centre was a buzz when the Springboks brought the Rugby World Cup trophy on a victory tour through the city centre, starting at the City Hall, on Friday November 10.
November saw the announcement that the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) would return after a three-year hiatus, and the V&A Waterfront unveiled a sign for Cape Town, created to celebrate the city’s identity, at Alfred Square.
In December, Table Bay Hotel spread the festive spirit by donating shoes and socks to marginalised schools, and Cape Town Opera announced its 2024 season, including the introduction of a children’s choir.