Advertorial: ​MEC Seaparo Sekoati launches enterprising 2017 Limpopo Marula Festival

The festival is aimed at creating a sustainable economy through various models of developing the marula industry

Limpopo Province is once again poised to receive high volumes of visitors during the 12th edition of the annual Limpopo Marula Festival, due to the wide variety and high quality of activities lined up for this year’s event.

MEC for the Limpopo department of economic development, environment and tourism Seaparo Sekoati launched the event on January 13 2017 at the Amarula Lapa in Phalaborwa, much to the excitement of stakeholders and the media that were present. He announced that this year the event boasts artists Salif Keita, Hugh Masekela, AKA, King Monada and many more. Revelers should brace themselves for a thrilling 2017 Limpopo Marula Festival, with international guests from Cuba, Venezuela, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Angola and Namibia.

The festival is aimed at creating a sustainable economy through various models of developing the marula industry to benefit the local communities. The Marula Industry Programme is a partnership of several stakeholders including the 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 and culture, the 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, which enhanced knowledge about how to host festivals in a sustainable manner.

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 sport, arts and culture Onicca Moloi will preside over the provincial build-up event, Ku Luma Vukanyi/Ku Luma Nguva/Go Loma Morula, which will take place at Dzata Museum in the Vhembe district on February 4.

This year’s bumper lineup of activities begins with the Street Parade on February 24, when the usually quiet streets of the town of Phalaborwa will be alive with the dance and delight of colorful cultural groups, including the South African National Defence Force.

This will be followed by a host of activities lined up by various organisers and stakeholders and includes the following:

  • Ku Luma Nguva/Ku Luma Vhukanyi/ Go Loma Morula, 4 February 2017,  Dzata Museum
  • Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality build-up events:
    • Seloane Traditional Authority, 28 January 2017
    • Mashishimale Traditional Authority, 11 February 2017
    • Maseke Traditional Authority, 17 February 2017
    • Majeje Traditional Authority, 18 February 2017
    • Makhushane Traditional Authority 18 February 2017
  • Maruleng Municipality build-up event: 4 February 2017
  • Local Marula Heritage Festival (district events) 4-18 February 2017 in all districts
  • Fun Fair (Kiddies World):  17 February - 4 March 2017, Impala Park Stadium
  • Street Parade:  24 February 2017,  Phalaborwa Town
  • Community Marathon:  25 February 2017, from Bollanoto Tourism Information Centre
  • 4x4 Challenge:  25 February 2017, Hlolwa Lodge
  • Youth Rugby (Bulletjies):  25 February 2017, Groen Skool
  • Hip Hop/Kwaito Youth Festival:  25 February 2017, Impala Park Stadium
  • Brewing of the marula beverage by co-operatives:  20 February - 3 March 2017, Ba-Phalaborwa Municipal Lapa
  • Career Expo:  27 February - 3 March 2017, Impala Park Stadium
  • Trade Fair & Exhibition:  27 February - 4 March 2017, Impala Park Stadium
  • Golf Challenge:  3 - 4 March 2017,  Hans Merensky Golf Estate
  • Cuisine à la Marula Corporate Dinner: 3 March 2017,  Phalaborwa Airport
  • Jazz Festival: 4 March 2017,  Impala Park Stadium

Entertainment highlights for the Kwaito & Hip-Hop Festival that will take place on February 25 include talent heavy weights and award-winning artists like AKA, Jabba, Thebe, Brickz, 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 Salif Keita, Bra Hugh Masekela, Mafikizolo, Penny, Joe Shirimani, King Monada, Benjamin Dube, Worship House, Brothers of Peace, Trompies and Candy among others. There will be an exciting line-up of provincial talent in the form of artists and DJs to add some local spice.

As was the case in previous years, 13 co-operatives under Mukumbi Industries will brew 12 000 litres 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.

Tickets for both open-air concerts will be available at Computicket for just R150.

Limpopo Marula Festival packages are also available on the festival website. For more information, visit www.limpopomarulafest.co.za

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