New festival aims to put the Bay on cultural map

2015-04-30 14:40
Anele Mbasane 


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IT’S all systems go for Nelson Mandela Bay’s inaugural annual premier cultural festival that is poised to be one of the biggest entertainment attractions on its calendar.

The festival will be held between July 3 and August 2 this year.

Speaking at the launch last week, deputy mayor Chippa Ngcolomba said the festival must raise the profile of the metro as the lifestyle and entertainment capital of the Eastern Cape, and ultimately feature prominently in the national schedule.

“We must position this metro as one of the most progressive performing arts centres encompassing music, dance, comedy, arts and craft in South Africa.

“We have to create a multifaceted festival to encompass various outdoor and entertainment events, thus promoting the city as among the best tourist destinations in SA,” he said.

This platform must showcase Nelson Mandela Bay’s diverse tourism industry and should substantially boost SMMEs and township economies, he said.

“As we move forward, the impact of this festival must be positively felt by our people. We need to develop sustainable business and investment opportunities and this must become a key focus for businesses and governments alike.

“Let us support this initiative and celebrate our creative artists. Let us put the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in its rightful place. Let’s use this opportunity to reach out to each other and do things better for the betterment of our people.”

He said the launch of the festival was of great significance to the entire city and all its communities and cultural groupings.

“This event heralds a new era in which the municipality will establish closer links with local artists, communities and groups”.

He assured artists that the municipality would do things differently and work closely with them. “Our cultural activists, our creative and performing artists, and gifted children of Nelson Mandela Bay are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the country. Many of them are revered internationally.”

The chairman of Harmocept, Anele Mbasane, said his organisation was delighted to be the implementing and operational agent of the festival on behalf of the metro.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that the vision and the mission of the metro with regard to this festival and as espoused by the mayor is accomplished. Our intention is to make this festival a commercial success.

“A wonderful and beautiful city like Nelson Mandela Bay deserves such a prestigious property. This city cannot continue to sell itself short - it needs to find its way back to the top.”

He said the cultural festival presented a golden opportunity for that repositioning. This property must translate into the tangible economic benefits for the township economy. “This we shall do through supporting local SMMEs like catering, transport, accommodation, arts and craft, entertainment, printing; and creation of livelihood opportunities through short-term jobs.

Mbasana said the performance venues for the project had been strategically selected to give meaning to the above. Each and every cluster would have an activity.

To ensure that all or most participating groups were exposed to the opportunity, every attempt would be made to hold auditions as far and wide across the municipalities as possible. Owing to the magnitude of the envisaged project, performances, exhibitions, workshops had been spread all over.

Mbasana said the programme would include:

. A memorial lecture at NMMU on July 18. The organisers have invited President Jacob Zuma as an honoured guest;

. Choral music competition for local choirs at Nongoza Jebe hall on July 19;

. A senior citizens gospel concert on July 25;

. A golf day and cocktail party at the Humewood Golf Club and a youth festival with local and national artists on July 31;

. NMB jazz festival with an international artist on August 1;

. Ending at Fairview race course with a horse racing event

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