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Fan Walk lessons from Istanbul




I have long held the view that the best way to discover a foreign city, is to get lost in it. (…’you were never really ‘found’ to begin with,’ continues my philosophy).

With my growing acceptance and appreciation of technology, this is getting increasingly challenging though. Even with the 3G option firmly shut (for reasons mostly related to costs), I was still able to follow the dot on my iPhone’s map to see if I am on track towards the Galata Tower on a recent trip to Istanbul.

Are we too precious about the streets in which we play?

Yet with all the wonders of technology guiding me, I could still not be forewarned of the madness that awaited me on a Saturday afternoon finding my way from Taksim Square to said ancient tower via Istiklal Caddesi. If the name sounds familiar to you, its perhaps what your Turkish ancestors might have used to describe a Fan Walk. Uber Fans. Uber Walks. Happy stampedes of locals, spending quality time with friends, spending money and spending energy on the city they live in.

Do we limit our fun to strict rules of engagement that is turning the Cape Town Stadium into a bookmark of an if-only-we-used-it-wisely era?

And so it got me thinking: What are we missing in Cape Town that could break the cobwebs of the magical walk from (improved and impressive) Cape Town Station to the (now sadly one-event-per-month) Cape Town Stadium? I made a list – and took some pictures:

  1. Show the major sport event of that day on mother-sized screens on key spots – they chose Soccer on this day I stumbled into the action
  2. Add sound for special effect
  3. Open pubs to sell beer on the streets
  4. Select vendors to sell appropriate goods to a crowd that is already mesmerized by the growing excitement (think of our many successful markets)
  5. Add a few artists and musicians – maybe even on stilts or open busses with bands playing cheesy tunes
  6. See the retailers jump for joy as sales rocket into the next day’s early hours
  7. Stir, mix, serve.

Seven highly effective steps that sound very familiar? Its the stuff we did in June 2010 to impress the world. If there is one key lesson I learnt now, it is that we first need to be impressed by our own city before we can show it off to the rest of the world. Istanbul succeeds in doing so by rewarding its sports fans with entertainment and late night activities.

Are we too precious about the streets in which we play?

Do we limit our fun to strict rules of engagement that is turning the Cape Town Stadium into a bookmark of an if-only-we-used-it-wisely era?

Am I missing the point (or the complexity of the matter)?

What do you think?

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Adriaan Bester

Communication Advisor

#LoneCyclist figuring how to balance a bicycle with a career on the streets of Cape Town

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