Mitchell’s Plain just a click away
Their vision has seen interest from across the water, with tourists wanting to know more about Mitchell’s Plain.
Mitchell’s Plain Online, a website started last year to highlight the positives in the area and get it noticed as a travel destination, has received a number of requests from tourists wanting to visit the area.
Recently, together with the BlaqPearl Foundation, they welcomed a group of 23 students from Northeastern University in Boston, USA, and hosted them at the Alliance Francaise before taking them to visit Oval North High School to interact with and inspire learners.
The website was founded by Michael Bell and his wife, Natasha.
“The reason for the visit to Oval North was to gain an understanding of the level of access to the city by certain communities – particularly women in terms of transport, among others. We had a panel discussion, together with Janine ‘Blaq Pearl’ van Rooy who also shared her own experiences as a woman growing up in Mitchell’s Plain,” says Bell.
“Having travelled extensively overseas, and in so doing promoting Mitchell’s Plain to a broader audience, the university wanted to visit a township in Cape Town and was subsequently advised by one of my tour operator friends overseas to come to Mitchell’s Plain.
“They then checked out the website and were very excited to experience it first-hand. I was then requested to plan a day trip which included the panel discussion as well as a trip to a local school where the students engaged with the learners.”
He wanted to show off the beauty and uniqueness of the area and was then inspired to start the site.
“The main reason for starting the website was to promote the area in a positive light and to market it as a destination; also to change the narrative about Michell’s Plain pertaining to gangs and drugs, taking into consideration that Mitchell’s Plain has been dubbed the murder capital of South Africa,” he says.
Since its inception, they have had many successes showcasing what Mitchell’s Plain has to offer including the Read to Rise Oaky stage play competition, Imperial Primary School’s carnival and an interview with DJ Ready D from Lentegeur.
While it is solely managed and run by himself and his wife, they hope to get more people involved to ensure the product remains hip and attractive to both young and old.
“People can read about the history of Mitchell’s Plain which is quite fascinating. There is also a section called ‘Vannie Plain’ that features prominent residents who have made it big and who are giving back in a big way. The site also features the many attractions in the area,” says Bell.
“We also invite the residents to share their stories with us – stories about life in the ’Plain – and small businesses can advertise their goods and services at a very nominal fee with the first three months free.”
They hope to also have an online store running within the next few months to help promote Mitchell’s Plain as a brand, with clothing and other items.
“Seeing that this is the first of its kind for a township, we hope to put Mitchell’s Plain out there and create awareness around all the positive things about South Africa’s second largest township,” says Bell.
“Mitchell’s Plain is a melting pot of culture and we want to showcase it to the world. Through this initiative, we want to have a Michell’s Plain that people can be proud of.”