Making Cape Town more accessible to all regardless of their abilities is the aim of a new campaign by Cape Town Tourism.
Limitless Cape Town was launched on Tuesday July 11, at The Terrace Rooftop in Salt River, along with an art tour by a blind tour guide, Winston Fani.
As part of the new campaign, Cape Town Tourism has installed braille touch-points on art murals in Salt River and at the yellow frames at tourist attractions including the V&A Waterfront, Signal Hill, Eden on the Bay in Blaauwberg, District Six and the Silo District. And QR codes lead to audio content, describing the views and art murals.
“Leading up to Mandela Day serves as a reminder of Madiba’s legacy of committed peace, social justice, and most importantly, equality by shattering barriers, unveiling opportunities and empowering every visitor. That’s why our goal with this movement is to drive limitless possibilities for everyone, no matter their abilities, transforming Cape Town into an accessible destination for all,” said Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy.
Mayoral committee member for economic growth and tourism James Vos, said: “We are showing that we care and cooperate to make our city a destination that puts the needs of people first to ensure that our products and places are accessible when it comes to functionality and features.”
Managing director of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Wahida Parker said they employed staff with disabilities and were working to improve wheelchair access.
Mr Fani, from Mfuleni, said he had been very involved with sport, but lost his eyesight at 12 due to glaucoma, a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of sight.
“It was a trainsmash for me because I couldn’t see anything, but I had a very strong support circle, and after a few months, I pulled myself together.”
Mr Fani was retrenched at his call-centre job during the pandemic and struggled to find work. His interest in becoming a tour guide stemmed from the difficulty of knowing your environment when you are blind.
“We have to move from place to place, and it’s hard to know your surroundings without a guide. So I began to understand the importance of knowing my environment, and now I am able to direct a tour. It’s not only by sight that you get to know your surroundings.”
Mr Fani said he created his own landmarks to make it easier for himself. He ran his first tour on Tuesday July 11 in Salt River with representatives from the media, Baz-Art and the Athlone School of the Blind.
“I tried to prove to the world that being blind is not the end of the world and is not a major obstacle. I also needed to put food on the table,” he said.
Brionne Brooks, the project lead for Limitless Cape Town, said Cape Town Tourism had paid for Mr Fani’s studies, which he had finished at the end of last month.
She said Mr Fani had a particular interest in art so they had chose Salt River as his tour route and had helped him refine his tour with braille plaques and QR codes installed on murals.
Gail Williams, the deputy principal at Athlone School of the Blind, praised Mr Fani’s efforts.
“It’s a very proud moment for a visually impaired person being able to take people with sight on tours to experience things through his eyes by means of speech. I am very proud of Winston. Being blind, he is part of our family.”
Roshana Naidoo, the project manager at Baz-Art, which hosts the annual International Art Festival in Salt River and the CBD, said Kremer Road was included for the tour because it had the most murals and was the easiest route for Mr Fani to navigate.
Ms Naidoo said while there were always tourists visiting Salt River, this initiative had made her realise the power that the murals held.
“It’s going to change the game for many blind people in terms of feeling inclusive. I now try to live my life with less vision and more imagination.”
Visit capetown.travel to find out how to book a tour with Winston and learn more about the Limitless Cape Town.
Cape Town Tourism plans to develop social media content with audio options, create audio maps of accessible routes, hold sensitivity and awareness training and produce more enhanced audio guides with QR codes for menus in restaurants and art in hotels and guest houses.
Visit capetown.travel to find out how to book a tour with Mr Fani and to learn more about Limitless Cape Town.