It is fitting that we kick off with a First Thursday falling on the very first day of the month. This is a massively popular monthly event in which galleries and shops stay open till 21:00 and people pour in to occupy the night-time streets, explore on foot and take in multiple cultural events and spaces. See www.first-thursdays.co.za.
The "don't miss" cultural event of the month is undoubtedly the Open Book Festival from 7 to 11 September. Last year's festival was full of riveting sessions and conversations, and judging by the programme Open Book 2016 will not disappoint. There is an impressive array of South African, African and international talent, interestingly mixed up in a wide range of conversations. Of course these really fly or not according to the expertise of the facilitator -- and there are a number of great people in the role this year. Most sessions cost R45 but a generous number are free, including all sessions designed for children and youth. Look out for the free masterclasses, workshops and demo sessions in the fest-within-the-fest on comic art. The environment adds huge value to the festival - it all happens at The Fugard or close by in other historical buildings of the city's eastern precinct. We counted 24 sessions on one day and it goes on for five days - hard choices ahead! See openbookfestival.co.za/2016-programme/
The Fugard also has two high-profile plays this month: Broadway and West End hit Clybourne Park till 1 October (see the review on page 11) and Athol Fugard's latest play The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek till 24 September.
The Cape Town Fringe at the City Hall is another big festival on the calendar from 22 September to 8 October. There is not yet a lot of advance information about the programme. Last year's Fringe was still finding its identity as a festival but there was some exciting work and it's worth keeping an eye on. Hopefully they'll repeat the pop-up cafe and shop - what a pleasure to hang out in the magnificent old city hall buildings. See www.capetownfringe.co.za
For design enthusiasts Southern Guild has opened in Woodstock and is showcasing new work by designers under the age of 40 until 23 September. Within the same block you can take in the Stevenson, Goodman and Smac galleries. See www.southernguild.co.za/news/.
Finally a gift from Iziko Museums in honour of Heritage week: free entrance to all museums from 19 to 25 September. This applies to the Castle of Good Hope, the SA National Gallery, the Slave Lodge, the SA Museum and others. See the full list on www.iziko.org.za.