Limpopo Province is once again poised to receive high volumes of visitors during the 12th edition of the annual Limpopo Marula Festival, especially due to the wide variety and high quality of activities lined up for the event this year.
The MEC for the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), Mr. Seaparo Sekoati, launched the event on Friday, 13th January 2017 at the Amarula Lapa in Phalaborwa, much to the excitement of stakeholders and the media that were present, announcing that this year, the event boast artists like Salif Keita, Hugh Masekela, AKA, Mafikizolo (pictured), King Monada and many more. Revellers should brace themselves for a thriller and a much improved 2017 Limpopo Marula Festival, all thanks to a remarkable and enticing programme.
Entertainment highlights for the Kwaito & Hip-Hop Festival that will take place on 25 February 2017 include talent heavy weights and award-winning artists like AKA, Jabba, Thebe, Bricks, DJ Ganyani, the legendary Mdu Masilela, Cappacino, Complexion, Darque and many more. The festival will culminate in the Gospel and Jazz open air concert that will feature the world renowned musician Salif Keita, Bra Hugh Masekela, Mafikizolo, Penny, Joe Shirimani, King Monada, Benjamin Dube, Worship House, Brothers of Peace, Trompies and Candy (Tsamandebele) amongst others. There will be an exciting line-up of local provincial talent in the form of artists and DJs that will contribute to the success of the concerts.
As was the case in previous years, 13 co-operatives under Mukumbi Industries, will brew 12 000 liters of the marula beverage, which will be consumed by the public during the festival. This initiative goes a long way in generating much needed finances for the municipality and the local community.
With international guests from Cuba, Venezuela, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Angola and Namibia, the festival is aimed at developing a sustainable local economy through various models of development of the marula industry and the value-chain that can benefit the local communities. Thus, the event has surpassed being merely a festival and has developed into the Marula Industry Programme. It is a partnership of several stakeholders like SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency), Limpopo Tourism Agency, Limpopo Economic Development Agency, Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality, Mopani District Municipality, Office of the Premier, Limpopo Department of Sport, Arts & Culture, National Department of Arts and Culture, the Phalaborwa Tourism Association and the Kruger National Park.
The Limpopo Marula Festival is a drawcard that attracts domestic, regional and international tourists to Limpopo during the Marula season, which officially begins in January and ends in April each year. To develop the festival as a marketable brand for Limpopo, a fact-finding mission was carried out to the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany, an endeavour that will enhance knowledge and skills on the manner in which festivals can successfully be hosted in a sustainable manner.
Beyond the first decade of the Marula Festival, the department’s initiatives will extend into the establishment of the Limpopo Marula Industry Hub, which is meant to beneficiate marula all year round, providing employment opportunities for the local communities, including co-operatives and other small businesses.
Over the years, the Limpopo Marula Festival has grown into a sought-after brand the world over. It was imperative, at the time, that the Limpopo Provincial Government identifies a permanent venue for the implementation of the Marula Industry Programme, which culminates in the annual festival; a venue around which a strong and authentic brand could be developed and one that the people of Limpopo can proudly identify.
The Festival of the First Fruit, which is the ceremonial tasting of the first fruit hosted by the Traditional leadership of various communities, will mark the official opening of marula month. The MEC of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms. Onicca Moloi, will presided over the provincial build-up event, Ku Luma Vukanyi/Ku Luma Nguva/Go Loma Morula, which will took place at Dzata Museum in the Vhembe District on Saturday, 04 February.
This year’s bumper line-up of activities began with the Street Parade on Friday, 24th February 2017, during which the usually quiet streets of the town of Phalaborwa will be alive with the dance and delight of colourful cultural groups, including the South African National Defence Force. This will be followed by a host of activities lined up by various organizers and stakeholders.
Tickets for both open air concerts will be available at Computicket at the highly subsidized amount of R150. Limpopo Marula Festival packages are also available on the festival website.
For more information, events and activities visit www.limpopomarulafest.co.za