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Human Rights Day in Cape Town 2016

Officially declared a public holiday in 1994, Human Rights Day (21 March) serves as both a reminder of the happenings at the Sharpeville massacre and a celebration of Mzansi’s unique foundation, which gives all citizens equal rights.

This year, it falls on a Monday, and what better way to celebrate this coveted weekend interlude than with a range of activities in Cape Town.
Apart from the high-profile events in our weekend overview, the Mother City boasts a slew of niche things to do, and revelers looking to commemorate Mzansi’s diversity with something slightly offbeat can find a range of options below.
Thus, eat, drink, be merry and celebrate Human Rights Day in Cape Town and surrounds with a handful of off-the-hook and downright delicious events in the Mother City. There’s a heap of highlights on offer, from live music shows and FREE events to a thought-provoking exhibition and an innovative production chronicling the life of our beloved Madiba.


The Cape Town Festival is back for it’s 18th year. It will take place at the Company’s Gardens in association with Iziko Museum.The line-up this year includes Jimmy Nevis, Vicky Sampson and Jits Vinger. There will be a craft fair, food market, art in the gardens and a kiddies’ zone. A special discussion will be held at the Iziko Museum on Monday, 21 March 2016 as youth and veteran activists reflect on the role of language in preserving heritage.
COST: Entry is free. The event starts at 11am until 6pm.

If you are brave enough to take on the frosty temperature of the Atlantic ocean, then this one is for you. Part of the Freedom Swim Series, a collection of athletic events that look to raise awareness for swimming and money for good causes, the fun (and freezing) competition departs from Camps Bay Beach and makes its way along an 800 metre, 1.6km and 4.8km stretch. Swimmers have the option to brave the icy Atlantic with or without a wetsuit, and registration will take place between 8:30am and 9:30am with the action starting at 10am until 1pm.
COST: Enter online via Costs range between R100p/p and R200p/p depending the route you choose and whether or not you wear a wetsuit. Entries close on 18 March 2016.The event starts at 10am until 1pm.

Singing sensation, Lira is the headline act for this year’s edition of Jazz on the Lawn.Other artists include Don Vino, Jonathan Rubain and Marce Underwood. Top school bands that are scheduled to participate are: Rondebosch Boys' High School , Groote Schuur High School, Elsies River High School, Bergvliet High School, Heathfield High School, Sacred Heart College and St Joseph’s Marist College. A number of food trucks, kiddies areas as well as a bar will be on site to ensure that visitors have tasty grub and entertainment options. To top it all off, there will be a car display to keep motor-mad petrol-heads happy.
COST: Adults will pay 100p/p, kids under 12 years of age will get in for R50. Tickets are available from the school at the gate on day of event and via Webtickets. The fun starts at 12pm until 8pm.

Not only is entry to ALL Iziko Museums FREE on Human Rights Day (excluding the Planetarium and Castle of Good Hope), but the South African National Gallery will also be the site of an exciting cultural programme, hosted at the Iziko amphitheatre and the TH Barry Lecture Theatre from 10am until 6pm.
COST: Entry to Iziko Museums (except the Planetarium and Castle of Good Hope) is FREE on Human Rights Day.

No Human Rights Day would be complete without, in some way, acknowledging the work and impact of global Human Rights icon Nelson Mandela. So, if you are looking for an awesome way to celebrate our beloved former president then look no further than Making Mandela, which forms part the Obs Family Festival. This year, the event runs from the 14 - 21 March and includes the the World Day for Theatre for Children and Young People, the World Day for Puppetry, and, of course, our Human Rights Day. Coinciding with the #Takeachildtothetheatre campaign, the critically acclaimed production, which will be performed at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, is perfect for those 13 years old and above. It tells the story of Madiba’s journey of becoming one of the most recognisable freedom fighters through the use of innovative theatrical devices, such as evocative masks and physical theatre. This imaginative and visually stimulating play is sure to make theatre fanatics out of your kids and makes for an enriching family weekend too.
COST: Tickets are available at R 150p/p and R40 for ASSITEJ members. The performance starts at 10am.To sign up for limited places, please book by sending a short resume to Chandre Jordaan at

With a focus on advancing the human right of freedom of access to information, South African Library Week – it runs from 14 to 21 March - has the theme of #libraries4lifelonglearning this year: The President of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) will attend the launch and highlights for the week include a book festival hosting author talks, writing workshops and cosplay, which will be presented by the southern peninsula libraries of Fish Hoek, Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Simon’s Town. Cape Town’s Library and Information Services Department will officially launch SALW on Friday, 13 March 2016 at the Centre for the Book in Queen Victoria Street at 10am.
COST: Free! All of the events are aimed at inspiring and enlightening communities and school children.