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March 11, 2009

Cape Town flourishes as one of the new creative and cultural centres of the world

Fifteen years after South Africa’s first democratic elections endorsed freedom of expression, the country has begun to show a rich and fascinating cultural identity.

Cape Town is the cultural and creative epicentre of South Africa, with more artists, designers and poets choosing the melting-pot palette of people and natural beauty of Cape Town as their inspirational home.

Visitors to Cape Town can explore the dichotomy of a less-than-perfect past with a present and future full of possibility – a discourse that many creative people can fully engage with and which visitors will instinctively relate to.

From the curated exploration of cultural, historical and social issues by Iziko Museums to the exhibition of musical street life in the Mother City’s townships, Cape Town has a strong creative economy and a treasure chest of talent of music, dance, theatre, poetry, fashion, art, culinary skill and design.

Cultural tourism is an emerging sector of Cape Town’s traditional tourism offering, but one which is certain to grow as increased funding from the formal sector is granted and deeper international networks are forged.

Key cultural events on Cape Town’s calendar include the recent Design Indaba Conference and Expo which brings international design gurus together to share and reflect. The conference and expo, rated among the world’s most significant meetings of the design world, showcases South African design across a multitude of disciplines.

Cape Town Tourism, in collaboration with Design Indaba, launched the first dedicated Design Route and Map for Cape Town at this year’s event – get a copy from any Cape Town Tourism Visitor Centre.

In February, Infecting the City celebrated a local and international collaboration in the performing arts and brought the city to a standstill with free-to-view, public-space performances and art.

The Cape Town Festival brings more entertainment and variety to Cape Town’s cultural landscape in March with the theme of “one city many cultures” and a full calendar of events across the city.

The programme embraces the diverse talents and representations of culture through location and content.

Forthcoming events to note are the Badilisha! Poetry Exchange in May, which brings together an array of South African, African and international poets in an exchange of voice, thought and expression.

In September, Cape Town Tourism hosts the Loerie Awards, known as the Oscars of the creative industry. The awards ceremony is the highlight of the creative industry’s calendar and attracts many international attendees, as well as local marketing executives, creative leaders, media and celebrities.

Entries are judged by over 130 judges, made up of respected local industry leaders and chaired by international specialists.

Other key cultural events for Cape Town include the annual dress-up party MCQP (The Mother City Queer Project) in December and the celebrated minstrel carnival over the New Year period on the streets of Cape Town.

Continuing into 2010 marks the return of the bi-annual contemporary art event, Spier Contemporary.

If beautiful surrounds, excellent food, wine and adventure are not enough, then Cape Town is an authentic cultural journey that promises to captivate.

Cape Town Tourism has relaunched its website to better showcase cultural and creative Cape Town using consumer-generated content and social networking, including blogs, Facebook and Fickr, which assist would-be visitors getting a sense of the Mother City, its people and its exciting creative face.

As Richard Florida says: “Welcome to the age of the authentic where quality of place has equal standing with quality of life.”

Cape Town is such a place. Visit www.capetown.travel and be inspired.

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