As a non-profit event, Streetopia’s aim and vision is for any funding to be ploughed back into creative projects that leave a legacy that improves Obs through physical art installations and urban regeneration. But to pull the event off every year requires a lot of money, which is why the Observatory business community, and funding bodies, are requested to assist in ensuring the event can be staged, and benefit the area it takes place in.

To donate towards the costs of making Streetopia happen, you can make a deposit that will go towards ensuring the streets come alive – this year, and for years to come. As a community-run and funded event, every donation helps in ensuring Streetopia can remain a feature on Obs’ annual calendar of events.

Please make deposits into the following account, with a reference of the name of your business, or your own name:

Afrika Burns Creative Projects t/a AfrikaBurn
Standard Bank
Business Marketlink account number 038 083 809
Branch code 025 609 (Blue Route)

Massive thanks to all business owners, civic organisations and residents that have stepped up to support our event thus far!

If your business is located in the event footprint, or in close proximity, and as a result benefits from increased sales and exposure on the day, we appeal to you to consider becoming an official Supporter of our event.

What does it take to stage the event?

A lot. It’s no small endeavour staging a free event with many dozens of different activities over the course of one day, in a suburb, and then removing all infrastructure in order to leave the entire area cleaner than it was.

The planning has to start months in advance, so that the fine details can be worked out well ahead of time and it all comes together smoothly on the day. There are many cogs in the machine: transport, logistics, infrastructure, permits, production, road closures, publicity, letters to residents, Q&A sessions, invitations to artists, collaboration with NGO’s and civic organisations, volunteers, liaison with authorities, trash collection, health & safety, sanitation, security, rigging: the list of boxes to be ticked is long. And because our event team take the responsibility of staging the event in a residential area very seriously, a lot of energy and planning time is spent on making sure the event’s operation does not negatively impact the area.

To pull it off, you need the participation of a small army of individuals, each of whom have to find the time to pull their corner together in order for the whole to become more than the sum of its parts. It’s an event built on heart – and a lot of that heart comes from residents in Obs, who volunteer, exhibit art, stage performances and also stage the event as part of AfrikaBurn’s team (many of whom live and work in Obs).

With this event, a lot depends on the efforts of volunteers, residents, artists and gees. Because it’s not a profit-making exercise, gees is very important: many people, from different walks of life, come together because they believe in the idea of bringing community together by making the streets come alive. It’s not about money – a free event doesn’t make money, but it does take money to make it happen – and the people involved do it because it’s a creative endeavour that has the potential to create social cohesion by bringing people together.

The Spirit Of Streetopia

That’s the spirit of Streetopia – and it’s the spirit in which it was conceived by AfrikaBurn, who considered in 2014 that the vacuum left behind by the demise of Obsfest presented an opportunity to practice their desert experiment in an urban space. But spirit isn’t all that’s required: though Streetopia may be an idealist endeavour, fuelled by the AfrikaBurn concept of a blank space where everyone is invited, coupled to the culturally diverse and vibrant community of Observatory, it’s an urban experiment that happens in the real world.

And in the real world, there are cold hard costs.

During the event the streets of Observatory are filled with thousands of people. As a result, businesses in the area enjoy a great day’s trade that sees record numbers of customers, both during the day, and after the event closes. With the event earning warm praise across the board – and as the event is now well-known to many Capetonians that attend and participate – the event has attracted growing numbers each year.

The result is that Obs as a whole benefits: murals are painted and art installations go on to become permanent (to find out more about these, see this page about Streetopia Legacy artworks). On the day, new connections are made between residents and organisations that operate in the area. It also means another great day’s trade for businesses that benefit from increased foot traffic and exposure.

But behind the scenes, the event infrastructure needs to be well orchestrated for Streetopia to attract the numbers that make the area come alive – and that all requires funding.

Funding history:

With the 2015 launch event, AfrikaBurn provided seed funding of R106 000. In 2016, this was again the case, with R100 000 funding provided. However, this degree of financial support is not possible for future events, with the 2017 event marking the end of AfrikaBurn’s seed funding for Streetopia. The organisation does, however, continue to provide all event infrastructure and its team’s time free of charge in support of the event’s sustainability – withoutb which, the event could not happen.

What this means is that in order for the event to continue to be held (as a non-profit), a showing of funding support is required from the Observatory businesses that benefit from it, and organisations such as the City of Cape Town and, in 2018, the National Lotteries Commission. If everyone in the area – all the cogs that turn to make this magical one-day carnival happen – puts their weight behind it, Streetopia can grow to become something truly wonderful that will generate great results for Obs, its residents and businesses.

So, if you’re a business owner in the area, a resident or an interested party in some way, please consider supporting Streetopia by making a donation. As a non-profit event that’s free to all that attend and participate, your donation will open doors that can ensure Obs remains a place where all are welcome in a space where diversity is cherished, art is encouraged and community can flourish.

Need more info?

If you’d like to meet a representative from Streetopia’s team to discuss ways that your business can support the event, please contact our team on [email protected] and they’ll arrange a time to meet you and provide info.