Johannesburg, South Africa Sept. 1, 2002 SolarQuest® iNet News Service
When comparing Nasrec to the other sites used for the Summit it is as if you are seeing live one of the key issues being addressed by the WSSD, the disparities between First and Third worlds. Nasrec seems to be at a disadvantage in every possible way, it is out of the way and so much harder to access for delegates and media alike, it has second rate facilities that are not as well presented as elsewhere and it has significantly less coverage then the events taking place at Sandton and Ubuntu. Not only that, but the entry fee for the general public is R150 compared to the R30 that allows you access to the Ubuntu Village. This hardly seems fair when you consider that you have already had to fork out for travel costs and that there are no special added attractions at Nasrec.
But despite this, Nasrec has a vibe that is not captured elsewhere. It is full of African Spirit with music, laughter and people chatting all over the exhibition grounds. You can also find locals setting up shop in the parking lots and areas just outside the centre, this enables visitors to take a memento away with them that is not related to the Summit but rather to the country in which it is being held. In the other areas, the Hawkers have not been given permission to sell, even in areas in which they are normally given space.
The exhibition space at Nasrec seems to also have become known as second prize with many of the booths standing empty. Ubuntu in comparison is full to overflowing with organizations and countries that have wanted to tell their stories. There are even separate passes that allow you access into Nasrec and nowhere else, while the passes for Sandton allow you access to any of the Summit venues including both Nasrec and the Ubuntu village.
The one thing that remains constant between all venues is the willingness of the staff to help and the enthusiasm of the delegates to pass on information about the organizations that they are representing. What is needed is a better platform for those at Nasrec from which to be heard.