Africa’s event capital is seeing signs of recovery

by Xinhua author Lyu Tianran

CAPE TOWN, Oct 5 (Xinhuanet) – With Star Wars fans, live sketch battles and a conference on the creative industries, Cape Town, a leading event destination in Africa, sees “a big sign” of recovery in its events industry after it took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restriction measures against it.

Dawn to recover

Between October 1 and October 5, South Africa’s legislative capital, Cape Town, hosted events such as an animation festival, comics conference and creative industries week for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak had struck the city for five consecutive days, JP said Smith, member of the Cape Town Mayors’ Committee, JP Smith, added that it shows that the events industry is “emerging from decline”.

The coastal city on the southwestern tip of the country was named number one city in Africa for business events by the International Congress and Convention Association for the period 2010-2019 and has won the World’s Leading Festival & Event Destination of World Travel Awards several times over the years the last few years. In the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC) alone, over 500 national and international events took place a year before the pandemic.

Carol Weaving, executive director of the South African branch of global event organizer Reed Exhibition (RX), predicted events in South Africa such as conferences and small trade shows will recover quickly after the South African government further eased COVID-19 restrictions last week, including the number of people attending a meeting.

However, it could take the industry two years to fully recover, she told Xinhua during a Fame Week Africa event, a three-day event about the creative industries in Africa that ended Tuesday.

“In 2022 you will likely see 25 percent less than in 2019. But it will recover,” she said.


Events can bring together an industrial sector and boost business, which is “absolutely necessary,” Weaving said, adding that they act as platforms for buyers and sellers and make trading easier.

“It’s the fastest way to bring an industrial sector back together, bring people together and start the whole process,” she said.

In her opinion, the people who have seen live events shut down are desperate for entertainment and already tired of digital events.

RX had been running digital events to complement live events even before the pandemic, but both digital and live events are important, Weaving said.

Noel Daniels, CEO of the Cornerstone Institute, a not-for-profit private college that offers degrees in the arts, said for the creative industry only digital events, in all shapes and sizes, are unsustainable.

“We can’t sit behind the screen day in and day out or stick it to a television or big screen,” he said. Daniels also stressed the importance of the arts in people’s lives, saying that “they need to recover”.

The resumption of events will also help the work of Shabier Jacobs, a blogger who has participated in many events in the past, including both state and private.

“Of course it helps my work and keeps business going,” says Jacobs, who is looking for content for his blog during Fame Week Africa.

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