What’s happening at the Darling Vlei?

An open mic evening was organised at the Vlei, the area where also the Passion Play took place, which made Wednesday a very special Valentine’s day for Darling. Everyone was invited to come and sing, dance and create music.

Guest writer Suzanne Slachmuijlders continues – “The intervention was organised because of the architectural project that has been going on this week. The students from Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts and Cape Peninsula University of Technology have had the assignment to make the Vlei a safe, inviting space where people can connect. One of the options that the students are researching is the possibility of an open-air theatre; after their research in October there seemed to be a huge demand for that. To prototype the idea, the first open mic was organised at the Vlei.

Their efforts in a short period of time paid off since a few people were already at the Vlei an hour earlier. This was a happy coincidence because the students themselves came a little earlier too and together they cleaned the site and within 45 minutes they created a clean space for everyone to freely dance around.

The evening started with Marius Vlotman, the organiser of the event, with a speech to introduce the event and immediately after, there was an impressive performance from the dARTling dance group.

Jayden Julies, leader of the group, sees a lot of possibilities for an open-air Theatre at the Vlei. “It gives us a space to make a statement. We can be free and interact with the community outside. Now we don’t only practice, but we actually are able to show our talents and be proud of ourselves. I think that meeting each other through performance is meeting each other at a different, deeper level. We show who we are through our talents,” says Jayden.

The dancing was followed by the Bethlehem Crusaders who set the mood with the instrumental version of “Welcome to Cape Town”.

This encouraged young Ellouise, Leandre and their friends to sing a beautiful love song for our special Valentines evening.

As the sun slowly set behind the hills of Darling a few dance battles emerged from the crowd.

Before the night ended the band played lovely relaxing music and everyone went home with happy smiles and still slightly moving hips.

The open mic initiative and the architectural project has been noted by some other Darlings. Like Darling resident Alfred Legner, many people agreed that this can the beginning of something important and uplifting in Darling. He also noted that it is very important to keep in mind that people should know about what’s going on at the Vlei if it becomes a cultural space.

“I believe in what you’re doing.” Alfred immediately states as we ask for his opinion. “Music is a way of connecting communities. We must understand and accept each other’s culture even though they are different. Please don’t forget to look at the past projects that have been here in Darling, so you can learn from them to make a monthly open mic event work. There already is so much knowledge in Darling!”

Evita se Perron is excited about the construction of an open-air theatre at the Vlei. Also, the Darling Museum sees a lot of potential in the Vlei area. To gather at the beautiful Vlei is something that can bring people together in an informal way. Marius is planning for when the next open mic will be held at the Vlei as he will continue this initiative.

“Music, drama and the other arts are rooted in the ancient history of our African empire.” states Marius. “We know that unity can be and has been attained amongst men of the most disperate origins. That difference of race, religion, culture, tradition will not keep people from coming together.”

To wrap up the week the students have an exhibition for everyone to come and have a look at. The teachers and students will be there to explain their concepts and enlighten everyone on how this project works. It will be at the Darling Outreach Foundation Centre at Cole Street, from 16:00 till 18:00.”


Ed: “Thank you Suzanne for this wonderful article. Wishing you every success with your project”


Thank you to Dave Burger of Daisy Darling B&B for the images.

Guest Author

Guest authors who have generously allowed us to publish their work. A sincere thank you to them.

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