Streetiquette Campaign Reaches Many during Week of Performances
Joint Media Release by Donald Grant and Marcela Guerrero Casas
Minister of Transport and Public Works and Managing Director of Open Streets Cape Town
Yesterday, 30 November 2015, marked the end of Safely Home’s November Pedestrian Safety Month, which featured a multimedia campaign on various radio stations and online, under the #WalkSafe hashtag, as well as the innovative #Streetiquette campaign done in partnership with Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) and the City of Cape Town. The campaign ran over the course of last week, with one more performance scheduled for Thursday, 3 December 2015, during First Thursdays on Bree and Wale Streets.
The campaign took the form of a series of street theatre interventions aimed at highlighting the dangers of irresponsible road use in a creative and interactive way. We are pleased at the positive response that the campaign received from the many road users that ultimately became a part of it, and hope that more and more people are now thinking differently about their behaviour on the road and about adopting safer practices, particularly when walking to their various destinations.
#Streetiquette is inspired by a popular form of engagement in Latin America in which colourful performances and interactive theatre are used to tackle unsafe and irresponsible behaviour on urban streets by motorists and pedestrians. The campaign aims to trigger self-observation, self-reflection and, ultimately, self-education, and has been adapted for local audiences.
This campaign comprised four different skit performances, directed by Mandisi Sindo from Theatre for Change: Little Red Riding Hood; Gogo on the Loose; Soccer Referee; and Mourning Wreath. All four were performed by a crew of three professional actors, Iman Isaacs, Richard September, and Aphiwe Livi.
Little Red Riding Hood
The Little Red Riding Hood performance was created especially for a younger audience, particularly the school children who frequent the corners of Darling and Buitenkant streets in the CBD, who were very receptive to the campaign. The story was based on the classic tale, but adapted to show Little Red Riding Hood afraid to cross the street until the Huntsman comes to her rescue by showing her how the traffic lights can help her. Once the pedestrian light turns green, she is on her way, successfully finishing her journey while the red pedestrian light flashes. She then encounters the Big Bad Wolf in a (cardboard) car who has stopped in the pedestrian crossing, preventing her from crossing the street when the traffic light is green for her. She manages to circumvent the disrespectful wolf driver and crosses the street after a few acrobatic manoeuvres.
Watch: Red Riding Hood
This was a simple concept aimed at all ages, performed at the corners of Long and Wale Streets. Two players, one in red and another in green, were given red cards by the soccer referee when they weren’t respecting the rules of the road, and a green card when they were, similar to what happens during a soccer match. Pedestrians and motorists were also presented with these cards depending on their behaviour at the intersection to symbolise the importance of adhering to the rules of the road at all times.
Watch: Soccer Referee
Gogo on the Loose
This performance was of a Gogo walking with a walking stick, attempting to cross the street at the Plein Street pedestrian crossing. Considered the most entertaining, the aim of this performance was to encourage other road users to show patience and tolerance, and always to be mindful that the road is a space we all share and are responsible for in terms of safety.
This last performance involved a funeral acted out at the corner of Adderley and Bureau streets, in front of the Slave Lodge. A child-sized bicycle symbolised the death of a small child run over by a vehicle, accompanied by a large sign depicting one of many horrific statistics relating to the plight of children on our roads. The sign read “50 child pedestrians have died in Cape Town this year”. A procession walked across the street and stopped where the bicycle and bunches of flowers were to show respect.
Watch: Mourning Wreath
Other performance of “Go Stop” pedestrian team can be viewed on YouTube.
We know that over 2 800 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in central Cape Town from 2005 to 2014, which means a pedestrian has been struck in the area approximately every 28 hours for the past 10 years. More than 450 of these cases resulted in serious injuries. The issue is serious, and requires an urgent change in behaviour from all road users to curb this scourge.
We will continue to do all we can to get this very important message across to all road users, particularly as we move towards the notoriously dangerous holiday season, where safety on our roads takes centre-stage. We hope that increased awareness will spur a positive behaviour change in all road users, thereby saving thousands of lives that would otherwise have been lost senselessly on our roads.
About Open Streets Cape Town
Open Streets is a worldwide movement of citizens who are reclaiming their streets as public space. Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2012 by a group of volunteers committed to a more equitable, integrated, safer and vibrant city. OSCT seeks to build shared places that embody respect for all and help bridge the social and spatial divides of Cape Town. OSCT works in partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government.