Mother City Hop 2020 and COVID-19

With the upcoming swing dance festival Mother City Hop, scheduled for 16-22 March 2020, the Cape Town Swing team has had to make some difficult decisions.

Over the last few days, the Cape Town Swing team has been monitoring the developments around Covid-19 (Coronavirus) very closely. In light of the rapid spread of the virus globally, and the importance of slowing its progression in South Africa, we have had to make some tough calls.

Implications for Mother City Hop 2020

We have decided to cancel all group gatherings including the sightseeing, workshops and parties, and instead to transform this into a completely different experience for our local community and MCH supporters around the world. It is difficult to express our disappointment at having to make this decision: this event has taken many months of loving work and a lot of resources to put together. There are also some very worrying financial implications, given that most of our costs (e.g. international flights, teachers’ fees, accommodation, venues, marketing) have already been sunk. We are acutely aware of the impact on the many people who have booked leave, spent money on flights, accommodation, etc. – and on the local businesses that will suffer losses as a result. However, given the unique socio-economic circumstances of South Africa, the large proportion of immuno-compromised people in South Africa (high rates of TB and HIV/AIDS among other health challenges), an under-resourced healthcare system and the enormous impact that the virus could have here, we simply cannot ignore the risks and continue with business as usual. We would like to be responsible and prevent any negative implications from our side.

Implications for international travellers

If you have not yet left for (or arrived on) South African soil, we would strongly encourage you to reconsider your travel plans. South Africa is a country that faces unique socio-economic and healthcare challenges, and it would be highly irresponsible of us as organisers to encourage travellers from areas with local transmission of Covid-19 to enter our borders, and potentially introduce the virus to locals. While it pains us to say this, we do think it would be the wiser decision to discourage your travel here – for the sake of slowing the spread of Covid-19, therefore lessening the burden on our under-resourced healthcare systems, and saving lives. Whether or not you are travelling from a high-risk area, there is a potential to pick up the virus during international travel and to pass it on to locals inadvertently, without any symptoms showing. Even if you have a strong immune system and will bounce back, please consider the knock on effects on those around you, and the region at large. Please help us protect our immuno-compromised population, families, cleaners, Uber drivers, cashiers, waiters, and anyone that the virus could potentially reach. Please also be aware that Cape Town Swing will not be held liable for implications of your travel to South Africa, including possible quarantine and treatment.

A new kind of event

Mother City Hop is all about connecting people and our team here is excited about exploring ways that we can still do this, in a different way to what we had planned. As such, we have decided to change the format of Mother City Hop completely, so as to mitigate the spread of the virus in South Africa, but in a way that still gives our community and MCH supporters a fun and unique experience.

In place of classes and parties, we hope to offer new and original “virtual” experiences with our local community and the teachers who are already here, so that you can join in from wherever you are in the world. We understand that this change of events will come as a disappointment to you – we’re hopeful that the virtual experience will be some consolation. We have some great creative minds brainstorming exciting ideas, and a very capable and eager team to implement them! While this pandemic is sending a wave of panic through the whole world, we wish to highlight this as an opportunity to create something different, with artists who are already hired and have no safety net after losing gigs left right and centre. We want to make the best of this situation and we hope that you do too! Watch this space…

We’ve made this tough decision despite lots of resources and many hours of labour invested in this event; despite the very real financial implications for us; and recognising the impact on our attendees. We are confident that this is the right decision to make, though. We love you all and we will be in touch very soon with concrete plans. Stay safe and wash those hands 🙂


Please get in touch with us if you are already in the country or if you have questions, so that we can provide assistance where we can: