South African Tourism and Citi Bike® Announce Partnership, Bringing South African Art & Culture To NYC

Mural located at Franklin Street & West Broadway will Honor Work of Iconic South African Artist Esther Mahlangu

September 7th 2017, NEW YORK, NY – South African Tourism and Citi Bike have announced the launch of a month-long partnership which will bring South Africa’s unique art and culture to the streets of New York City.  Together, the organizations are encouraging New Yorkers and visitors to the city, to try out the iconic blue bikes and be inspired to travel to South Africa.

The partnership, in conjunction with South Africa’s national airline South African Airways, will include thirty South Africa branded Citi Bike docking stations across the city showcasing the variety of safari, adventure and cultural experiences holidaymakers can have in South Africa, while the pièce de résistance will be an original art mural dedicated to world-renowned South African artist, Esther Mahlangu.

Imani Shanklin Roberts, the up-and-coming New York-based visual artist – whose works feature a strong Afrocentric perspective on identity – has designed an original mural paying homage to Esther Mahlangu by the Franklin Street and West Broadway  Citi Bike station in Tribeca.

Following traditions passed down from her mother and grandmother, Esther Mahlangu’s unique, colorful and geometric paintings have inspired international brands and artists of many backgrounds across the globe and will provide New Yorkers this summer with a taste of South Africa’s vibrant Ndebele culture.

Citi Bike members can also access a special vacation package created by South African Airways Vacations.  The package will allow travelers to experience the culture of Johannesburg and historic Soweto by bicycle, followed by two nights on safari at Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge in the Pilanesberg National Park.

To officially mark the launch of the partnership, there will be a ribbon cutting event at 9:30am on Wednesday 13th September, with Esther Mahlangu, Imani Shanklin Roberts and local officials in attendance to honor Ms. Mahlangu’s impact on modern art around the world. This will take place at 9:30am in front of the mural on Franklin Street and West Broadway.

On Saturday, 16th September, Citi Bike and South African Tourism will co-host a South Africa-themed Block Party adjacent to the art installation, where riders will be able to take a rest from their blue bikes to enjoy South African food like Boerewors Rolls – South Africa’s answer to gourmet Hot Dogs. The party will include a pop-up food truck, face painting and music. Travel ambassadors will also be on site to share information about the South African vacation package.  This event is open to the public from 12:00pm – 3:00pm, and those attending can enter to win two tickets to see Broadway’s The Lion King.

Commenting on the partnership, Will Bissell, Director of Sponsorship for Motivate, operator of Citi Bike says, “There’s no better way to create your own adventure around the City than riding one of the blue bikes. Citi Bike is in more neighborhoods than ever before and ridership continues to thrive, with a new system record of over 70,000 rides in a day this past month. We are thrilled to partner with South African Tourism and bring a bit of South African culture to New York City streets for people to enjoy alongside a ride on a Citi Bike.”

Bangu Masisi, President of South African Tourism’s Americas Hub says of the partnership, “We’re excited to collaborate with Citi Bike this summer to bring a taste of the real South Africa to the streets of NYC. Tourist arrivals to South Africa from the United States were at an all-time high in 2016, with more than 345,000 Americans visiting the country to enjoy its authentic travel experiences. Through this immersive partnership, we hope to further inspire today’s discerning world traveler to discover South Africa and raise awareness for its variety of experiences; from the world-class safari and outdoor adventures to art, culture and beyond.  We are pleased to have the support of our partners at South African Airways who offer daily nonstop flights from New York to South Africa.”

For further information about Citi Bike visit

For more information on South Africa’s rich and diverse offerings visit, follow @SouthAfrica on Twitter and @VisitSouthAfrica on Instagram and Facebook.

For further information on the exclusive vacation package for Citi Bike members, details of the itinerary for “Cultural Johannesburg and Safari” can be found here.


Notes to Editors:

Bike share systems provide an instantly-immersive experience which can help bring products to life for consumers. As bike share becomes an increasingly ubiquitous part of the infrastructure of modern cities, brands are looking to leverage bike share’s urban real estate to establish permanent and positive associations with tastemakers nationwide.

Some of the world’s largest brands are collaborating with Citi Bike and its operator Motivate, which operates some of the largest and most popular bike share systems across the country including Hubway in Boston, Divvy in Chicago, and Ford GoBike in the Bay Area, among others. National brands including Ford, Nike, Citi, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Alaska Airlines, Hulu and Santander have made major investments in bike share programs from New York City to Seattle to reach bike share’s unique urban audience.

Citi Bike consistently breaks its own ridership records year after year. Overall trips on the system grew 40 percent in just one year from 10 million rides in 2015 to 14 million in 2016.  In July of 2017, riders took more than 70,000 trips in just one day.

About Citi Bike:

The Citi Bike program is New York’s bike share system. It has 10,000 bikes at over 600 stations, and will have 12,000 bikes by the end of this year. Stations are currently located every few blocks in Manhattan as far north as 110th Street and in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Williamsburg, and Greenpoint and in Long Island City, Queens. Annual members receive an electronic key to undock a bike from any station, allowing unlimited trips up to 45 minutes without incurring any additional costs. Twenty-four-hour passes are available for purchase at any Citi Bike station or through the Citi Bike app and provide unlimited 30-minute trips. Reduced cost memberships are available for NYCHA residents and members of select credit unions throughout the city, and for IDNYC holders in their first year of membership. Learn more at

About South African Tourism:

South African Tourism is the Destination Marketing Organization for South Africa tasked with growing country tourism numbers and inspiring visitors from all over the world to travel to South Africa. Learn more at:


Eli Bovarnick,, (646) 335-0443
Natacha Tonissoo,, (646) 499-9242