From Johannesburg to Japan, all lights lead to the V&A’s message of light and hope. 

Sustainability, collaboration, creativity and compassion are the foundation of the V&A Waterfront’s festive season this year. The 2020 festive period is preceded by months of global upheaval, extended moments of isolation and change that few of us could predict or control. Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is ready to contribute to humanity’s attempts to restore hope and they are set to do it in a meaningful way. 

The Waterfront is the heart of a city located at the edge of the world but retains central focus as a destination that continues to create the world’s most inspiring waterfront neighbourhood. The precinct’s formidable community of more than 450 shops, 180 business tenants, 101 entertainment activities and more than 80 eateries are geared to mark this year’s festive period as a period of hope that is undoubtedly needed by many. This year the Waterfront is creating a sense of neighbourly belonging and shared thanksgiving, marking it with a symbolic African Tree of Hope as the centerpiece of its message. “The Tree of Hope will be presented as our symbol of joy and outreach to our community with a lighting of its lanterns.” explains Tinyiko Mageza, Executive Manager for Marketing at the V&A Waterfront. 

Continuing the theme of Joy from Africa to the World, the internationally renowned destination, which became the first in the world to produce sustainable festive décor last year, has now recycled it once again for this year’s festive displays and installations to delight visitors. Décor will come to life under the creative direction of Platform Creative Agency who are this year’s Business and Arts South Africa’s Innovation Awards winners as well as South African Council of Shopping Centers Footprint Awards’ Bronze Award winners for Community Relations. Platform Creative Agency is a company focused on growing and promoting the South African design, lifestyle and cultural industries and this year, 134 crafters and designers have contributed to spreading hope and light through festive décor.

“Our ambition when we announced our commitment to sustainability in 2017 was to reduce the use of single use plastic across the precinct by 40% by 2020. We are some way to achieving this working together with our tenants,” says Tinyiko. This year’s festive decorations are once again the result of collaborative effort between local artists, makers, tenants and children from community programmes, who will use the platform to showcase their work to the large number of visitors expected to pass through the precinct during the festive season. Collaborators this year include the likes of illustrator and graphic designer Phathu Nembilwi. 

Other creatives who will be in the spotlight are; Janet Ormond of Bokke & Blomme who creates inspirational wooden words, décor accessories and patchwork that are all locally produced in Cape Town, sustainable textile designer Sindiso Khumalo who will bring joy on the children’s walkway with bold and distinctly African mannequin designs and Davis Ndungu whose unique creations such as recycled flip flop garlands will delight visitors to the Watershed.

Décor features will not only continue in the bold direction of expressing the aesthetic of holiday joy through a distinctly African lens but will also introduce tech-forward ways to enjoy them such as; QR coded installations that tell the story of each piece and its creator, virtual tours of the shopping centre’s festive displays and live streaming of activities and events. This year, everyone from Hong Kong to Hout Bay can enjoy Africa’s take on the meaning of festive joy. 

This year, visitors to the V&A Waterfront can look forward to musical entertainment from November until January, every Sunday, with Take the Stage which is a platform for emerging local musicians and musical ensembles to showcase their talent. A Dining with our Neighbours community food experience is also a highlight that will take place at the new local food space – Makers Landing located at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal. The V&A Waterfront is launching a drive-in cinema in partnership with Ster Kinekor, starting on the 27th of November, with shows available from Thursday to Sunday. More socially distanced entertainment for little ones and families includes a Kid’s Market for children between ages 4 to 14 to practise being entrepreneurs, a play area, opposite the Cape Wheel and the Kids Parkour at Battery Park. 

The V&A Waterfront will be operating under the latest COVID-19 protocols and guidelines as issued by our National Government under Lockdown Level 1. We wish to remind our visitors to at all times keep their the safety and health and that of others around them in mind and as required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while in public spaces, to practice social distancing and sanitize their hands frequently.   

The year 2020 has reminded us as a collective that sometimes the intangible is the most valuable, that joy is the fuel of life. Now that we come back together to rebuild and to reconnect, the V&A Waterfront looks forward to sharing the best of local design, art and culture within its neighbourhood. For more information and a list of full activities, visit the V&A Waterfront website

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