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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Bicycle shop event encourages young people to ‘unplug’

Amanda Cokile, Lilita Mkulungu, Sihle Mkulungu and Milisa Kuse (left to right) work on their paintings at a June 29 Cycling Friends’ Sip & Paint event. PHOTO: SHEKINAH DAVIS, M.A. ’24/THE HAWK

Cape Town, South Africa – It’s a Saturday night in late June in Cape Town, and what’s usually a quiet bicycle shop is blasting Amapiano and Afrobeat music, audible from the sidewalk as over 50 participants sit inside vibing, painting and sipping wine. 

Cape Town resident Brown Tumba started Sip & Paint night at Cycling Friends as a side hustle. He’s a professional sommelier who has been in the hospitality industry since he emigrated to South Africa from Zimbabwe 15 years ago.

“As a man, you just want to grow and come up with your own, and eventually come to a point where you don’t work for anyone,” Tumba said. “You become your own boss.”

Stefan Lohwasser, owner of Cycling Friends, saw events Tumba organized downtown and invited him to do something unique in his store’s space. 

“He loved the vibe that we had in town,” Tumba said. 

With business partner Bruce Muguti, Tumba started these wine and paint nights because of his love of wine, sourcing the tasting menu from South Africa’s famous local wineries he’s built connections with over the course of his career. 

Tumbo started the popular Paint & Sip Saturdays at Cycling Friends in order to encourage people to unplug from their digital devices and enjoy one another. PHOTO: SHEKINAH DAVIS, M.A. ’24/THE HAWK

But the event has a deeper purpose: to create experiences for Cape Town’s young people to come together, unplug from their phones and enjoy being together physically instead of in the digital world. Painting is a proxy for connection. 

“One key aspect is the opportunity to bring people together, especially younger generations, in a communal setting that encourages face-to-face interaction and connection,” Tumba said. 

In a society dominated by screens and rattled with loneliness, digital detox events like Tumba’s are popping up around the world. 

“Our events are specifically designed to encourage ‘unplugging,’ giving people a chance to step away from the constant stimulation of screens and social media and simply be present in the moment,” Tumba said.

For R195 ($10.75), participants get three glasses of local South African wine, a chicken wrap, a slice of bread, two pieces of pizza, a small canvas and paints. For serious painters, there’s a surcharge for a larger canvas. The event promotions promise “good wine, good food, good people, good vibes.”

Aashiqah Arendse attended Cycling Friends’ Sip & Paint for the first time on June 29. 

“This place incorporates all of it,” Arendse said, “eating, sipping, bicycling, music. You can just look and see [the people] are chill.” 

Arendse was invited by Azola Fihla, a.k.a @i.think.azola_sa, a content creator helping Tumba host and promote the event online. 

“We started with just trying to create something different,” Fihla said. “We open up the spot for people to come and socialize, just be together.”

Sip & Paint attendees gather for painting, local South African wine and socializing at Cycling Friends in Cape Town for one of the shop’s sold-out events. PHOTO: SHEKINAH DAVIS, M.A. ’24/THE HAWK

The event is held every Saturday with morning, noon and night sessions to accommodate different groups of people. It always sells out by the Wednesday before the event. 

Fihla and Tumba are expanding the programming, adding Salsa dancing on Fridays and mimosa brunches on Sundays. Tumba is also working on creating a Cycling Friends wine label. 

“We’ve only been operating for like three months now,” Brown said. “We did not realize how big this thing is going to be.”

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