Airport to host Zulu celebrations

2013-09-04 00:00

IN the run-up of the bicentenary celebrations of the Zulu nation, the annual Umgidi Welembe will be held at the King Shaka International Airport on September 22.

Zulu 200, in association with the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa), will present the festival on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini.

This will help set the stage for the 200th Anniversary in 2016 of the formation of the Zulu nation by King Shaka kaSenzangakhona. To highlight this momentous event, Zulu 200, an initiative led by King Zwelithini, is once again staging a spectacular annual celebration, as part of the build-up.

CEO Mandla KaNozulu and chairperson Duma Ndlovu said the Zulu 200 initiative seeks to enhance awareness of the multi-faceted historic and cultural landscapes that comprise the legacy of the Zulu kingdom and its people. It will see the production of literary, audio and film materials, to empower and inspire citizens of KwaZulu-Natal through information, education and connectivity.

The project was launched in 2011.

Reflecting the rich tapestry of history of the Zulu nation, the event will see thousands of traditional Zulu dancers, izimbongi (praise poets) and musicians performing before an audience headed by the monarch, with national and provincial dignitaries in attendance.

On festival day, the airport terminal façade and interiors will be dressed in celebratory branding for the royal occasion. The event is expected to draw a large crowd of invited guests and onlookers to enjoy the spectacular cultural display.

A week-long exhibition of traditional Zulu art and craft will be on display on the airport site preceding and during the day’s celebrations.

Proceedings on the day will start with a parade of Zulu dancers in full regalia, accompanied by the regiment of the Zulu royal house. This will take place through the airport terminal building, leading to a designated area nearby, where performances will be presented from 10 am to 5 pm, following an opening address by the king. The day’s programme will culminate with presentations, and performances by maskandi groups.

Admission is free.

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