If you’ve just stuck your neck out of your Cape Town home and looked southwards, you may be asking yourself, “Why is Table mountain red?”
Well, the answer to that question is that members of the event and live entertainment industry are so sick and tired of lockdown laws preventing them from going back to work and producing the shows and performances that South Africans love, that they have endeavoured to catch government’s attention with one great big red SOS signal.
You can watch a stream of various sites around the country turning red in honour of the protest campaign here:
While a rare species of tiny red spiders was recently discovered within the Table Mountain National Park, that’s not a (frankly terrifying) explanation for the sudden reddening of the world famous geological phenomenon.
The #LightSAred campaign’s flagship effort on the evening of Wednesday 5 August has been to blast Table Mountain with red spotlights from 18:00 to 22:00 and hopefully catch the attention of Minister of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation Nkosinathi Mthethwa, as well as the rest of government who are responsible for the dispensation of COVID-19 relief funding for the ailing industry.
The industry is facing unprecedented job losses due to the shutdown, and the campaign to bring government’s attention to their plight by removing themselves from the backstage wings and making their voices heard.
“For decades our industry has brought smiles to faces, we’ve provided entertainment with theatre productions, political rallies, sports events, festivals and so much more to South Africa,” they said on their website.
“We are usually behind the scenes, but we are now standing up to #LightSARed and make our voice heard.”
The City of Cape Town told The South African that the city wholeheartedly supports the protest, and has assisted #LightSAred in setting up the floodlights and lighting equipment for various sites around the city.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, said that the city needs to support the events industry to avoid massive job losses.
“We received a request from the #LightSAred Campaign for assistance with lighting up the City Hall, Civic Centre, the Cape Town Stadium and Table Mountain in red to raise awareness for the event industry which has been badly affected by the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.
The city has issued filming permits for the live stream of the lighting up of the City Hall, Civic Centre, and Greenpoint stadium, as well as facilitating the switching on of the lights to turn Table Mountain red.
“The City of Cape Town supports the events industry as we know how many jobs this industry creates, and the massive contribution it makes to our local economy. Around the world we have seen innovative ways in which the events industry is trying to get back to work.”
Members of the public have been encouraged to join in the protest by taking a picture of the one of the 363 areas around the country, like Table Mountain, and share on social media using the hashtag #LightSARed.
Other notable sites that have been transformed into red beacons tonight, are: