See Festival promotes inclusive Cape Town

Sites across Cape Town will be the canvas for expressions, dialogue and debate during the See Festival, which offers a full day conference, tours, installations, performance and music from 22 to 27 November.

Created and produced by The City agency, the intention is to bring together institutions, activists, artists, designers and other creatives to exchange ideas, debate and develop methodologies to bring about representational equity in the public life of our cities.

Zahira Asmal

There will be 22 local expert presenters and 10 studio participants from Africa and the Netherlands, exploring five major themes and manifesting them across the city.

“The See Festival will generate rigorous debate and fresh discoveries, and holds the potential to kickstart long-lasting impact and relationships,” says urbanist Zahira Asmal, director of The City.

The See Festival will interest and inspire specialists such as archaeologists, architects,  artists, community leaders, cultural practitioners and economists – and of course the ‘general public’, the people who form the city, who use the streets, gather at public spaces and want the city to be made in their image.


Several events are open to all:

Conference Tuesday 22 November

Experts representing fields as diverse as botany and museology, film-making and anthropology will discuss a variety of topics, ranging from the story of the slave ship São José Paquete d’África, wrecked off Clifton Beach in 1794, to artist Kamyar Bineshtarigh talking about his latest exhibition at The Norval Foundation.


A panel will reflect on language, politics and culture in Cape Town and how this relates to “coloured” identity today – expect though-provoking insights from Afrikaaps filmmaker Dylan Valley, hip-hop specialist and UCT Professor of Media Studies Adam Haupt, and Shaquille Southgate, coordinator at Heal the Hood youth project.

Asmal will reflect on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, while Stellenbosch University sociologist Professor Steven Robins heads a panel on reimagining sustainable and inclusive urban futures.


Performance, installations weekend 26-27 November

Concurrent with the See Festival, the See Studio is a series of exchanges, expert presentations, tours and team work taking place virtually and in Cape Town throughout November.

Chef Jocelyn Myers-Adams

Participants include 10 specialists from Africa and the Netherlands, who represent creative disciplines ranging from poetry and architecture to fine art and linguistics. Each has  been allocated a theme and a partner, and they are working together virtually and on site in Cape Town. The results will be unveiled at various sites in Cape Town over the weekend of 26-27 November.

Asmal says, “See is about bringing people together from various geographical, cultural and creative backgrounds, who have a connection to Cape Town’s past and present, in order to imagine representative, inclusive places. The creative practitioners have a brief and themes, however there’s no prescribed outcome and we look forward to the big reveal of their work as part of the See Festival public programme.”


Taste and terroir Saturday 26 November


SASA -Spencer Fondaumiere

President of the South African Sommeliers Association,  Spencer Fondaumiere, and chef Jocelyn Myers -Adams are creating a sensory, multi-course experience of shared food and wine. They will interpret the See Festival themes dealing with rituals, memory, belonging, nature and hybridity in Cape Town.

The wine is made by members of Cultivate, an initiative established by Asmal in 2020 to promote black talent in the wine sector.


Asmal says Cape Town was selected for the Studio and Festival as it is a global port city, a hub for both the voluntary and forced migration of people. While its citizens reflect multiple, diverse histories, Cape Town has largely been modelled as an assimilated version of Europe and is not equally inclusive of all its cultures.

“Cape Town lacks representation as a democratic city. It’s time for us to acknowledge and explore our pasts truthfully and meaningfully if we are to make Cape Town the city we wish her to be, for all.”


To find out more:

 Full Day Conference 22 November

Venue: Cultivate, C3 Salt Orchard, 45 Yew Street, Salt River | Time: 08:30-17:00

Cost: R550 per person including refreshments. Tickets available on Quicket.


Food and Wine Tasting 26 November

Venue: Cultivate, C3 Salt Orchard, 45 Yew Street, Salt River | Time: 18:00

Cost: R650 per person. Tickets available on Quicket. Find out more on Cultivate.


See Studio performances and installations 26-27 November

Read more on See Festival and See Studio and follow the programme and updates on social media – Facebook and Instagram @thecityagency.



The five See themes:

Theme 1:  Taming the Wild: (DE)colonial Imprints in Cape Town’s natural world.

Theme 2: Invisible hybridity: A journey into music, language, and literature of the Cape.

Theme 3: The rituals of remembering:  Intergenerational healing in forgotten histories.

Theme 4: Architectures of resistance: Encountering justice through memory.

Theme 5: How to belong here? Ways of making home in Cape Town.


See Project

The See Studio is supported by the Creative Industries Fund and DutchCulture, in partnership with Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Research Centre for Material Culture. The Studio forms part of an ongoing transnational project, See, created by Zahira Asmal and produced by her agency The City, in collaboration with individuals and institutions interested in history, memory, and placemaking.


The City agency

The City agency was founded by Asmal in 2010 to celebrate diversity and debate on a cross-continental scale. The City investigates the dynamic cultural, social and spatial activities shaping contemporary urban consciousness. Through publications, curated experiences and strategic connections, The City disseminates information to targeted groups in the private, public and civic sectors.

Read more on See Festival and See Studio


Issued by:                  Judy Bryant | 

On behalf of:             See Studio and See Festival

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