One of my first stops in Mossel Bay was for provisions at Pick n Pay at the Langeberg Mall. After parking and going up to the retail level, I was struck by the ambiance of the centre and whipped out my camera. A woman standing with a group of men in front of me charged up and said no photos are allowed in the Mall. When I said this is nonsense, she threatened to have me arrested if I went ahead. I should have asked what I would be arrested for, since I never saw any signs prohibiting photography, but I explained who I am, where I’m from, and that I’m trying to help promote Mossel Bay. She was adamant, saying its head office policy, so when I asked which property company managed the centre, she told me it is Redefine Properties and offered to give me the CEO’s phone number.
So, Redefine Properties and all other property companies, please read Oi!… stunning… and clueless. That was written in March 2010. A few months later, after interviewing the CEO of FNB, I stopped as I was leaving to take photographs of Bank City. A security guard stopped me from taking any. A tweet about this got an immediate response from FNB and their policy was changed within two days. Photography is allowed with the exception of ATMs and the people using them, which makes sense.
In this age of selfies, is the prohibition of photography purely idiotic? What if I had whipped out my mobile phone to take photographs of the area behind me? But the real crux is — don’t you want people sharing pics of the great places and spaces they went to? Are you really just another member of the tourist-unfriendly brigade?