Alan Stapleton

SPAR Eastern Cape delivered a strong message to the Nelson Mandela Bay community when the SPAR Summer Nathi programme was launched at Happy Valley in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

With an exciting festival, co-ordinated by events company Soul Good, laid out from December 16 to 31, SPAR sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton urged the organisers to reinforce a message about protecting the environment.

For the past two years the company has been running a STOP Plastic campaign and Stapleton said this was a golden opportunity to promote Port Elizabeth as a city which cared about the environment.

Alan Stapleton

SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton speaks at the launch of the Nathi Summer programme at Happy Valley in Port Elizabeth yesterday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

“Summer Nathi is all about bringing people together and celebrating the beauty of our city and the beauty of our people,” he said.

“Through Soul Good there are some fantastic events organised, which will be clean, safe and vibey, and aimed at the whole community.

“It’s wonderful for us to be involved, to welcome the tourists who come to our city and to bring the PE community together as one.

“But one really big request we have to is to use this programme to keep talking about the STOP Plastic campaign and to keep PE clean.

“We don’t need to have a big mess left behind by these events and I know we can do it.

“We proved this at the Women’s Challenge [10km and 5km runs] when there were 7 000 runners. At the end of the function we encouraged everyone to pick up a piece of rubbish and place it in the bins. Within half an hour that place was clean.”

He believed there was no reason why a similar approach could not be adopted at the summer festival events.

“If we really talk about it and encourage the community to become involved we can leave our venues clean. Just imagine those tourists who visit our city and say ‘wow, what a clean place this is’.

“There is no reason why we can’t do. Through Summer Nathi we can embrace change, embrace diversity and embrace good values. So let’s embrace the fact that we can all be better.”

Starting with the opening of the season at Hobie Beach on December 16, the programme will come to a conclusion with the traditional blockbuster New Year’s parties at Wells Estate and Hobie Beach on December 31.

Picnics, musical shows and various fun activities will be on offer, with artists such as Lady Zamar, DJ Maphorisa, LKG, Kabza de Small and Simmy, as well as various local acts, lined up to entertain the community.

Seki Mandaba, acting executive director of the municipality’s sports, recreation, arts and culture portfolio, said it was important that “we keep the creative industry in motion”.

“Our programme is spread across the metro, from Port Elizabeth right through to Uitenhage, with sponsored and various other events in the city,” she said.

“The Ebubeleni Urban Festival drew more than 20 000 people in 2018 and we can double that number this year.”

The other events in the Summer Nathi programme include a Christmas Picnic in the Park at Happy Valley on December 22 and the Uitenhage Picnic at the Willow Dam on December 23.

Metro safety and security executive director Keith Meyer said those attending should enjoy themselves responsibly.

“The influx of visitors to the city’s various tourist attractions leads to a dramatic rise in vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

“With businesses closing and the high levels of alcohol associated with the festive season, the safety and security directorate has intensified its strategies,” he said.

“We will have a zero-tolerance policy on any misdemeanours.”