Makhelwane Festival Returns To Soweto

Makhelwane Festival Returns To Soweto

                             Posted: Dec 09 2018

“Makhelwane” is a Zulu term that refers to one’s neighbour, but in African culture the term is deeper than that, the term refers to a community.  From 14 - 16 December, the Makhelwane Festival, now in its fourth year, presents a lifestyle festival that aims to reconnect and reignite the community/neighbourly culture “Bo Makhe” and promote local small and medium enterprises. The Makhelwane Festival happens on an open street in the heart of Soweto, Poka Street in Orlando West. This is a festival unlike any other, residents of the area open up their houses to be used as a variety of venues over the festival - from exhibition spaces to food and drink areas. The festival offers great music happening on stages on the street: Billed this year are Moonchild Sanelly, Femi Koya, Doc Shebeleza, Thasman, BigBoy, Kongisto and Hammathedude Tlou for all the days. 

Exciting food and drink vendors include the Good to Go Eatery, Eyethu Cellar Door, Hectic 7 and We Are Succulents. There are also talks, music screenings and a wine garden. “We kick off at Lebo’s Backpackers on the 14th of December and then the festival continues on the 15th from 12:00 till midnight on that day and on the 16th,” explains festival cocreator Sifiso Dlangamandla. Tickets are R150.00 at the gate or at Webtickets. 

“The festival aims to attract tourism into Soweto during the festive season with the #VayaSoweto campaign to experience local food, fashion, art and music - and encourage local shopping - during the festive season,” explains Dlangamandla. “The idea behind this concept is to continue to create products that will allow aspiring entrepreneurs, creatives and musicians to showcase their craft and skills.” So, expect food trucks and homes set up as eateries, all serving up gourmet deliciousness. In terms of design, Makhelwane has a meticulous selection criteria to ensure that authentic and original design products are featured at each event.

“This platform was also developed to reposition our townships in a positive light and to dispel the myths associated with Soweto as a tourist attraction. We certainly do that with our offerings! And we are happy to say that with each year the festival gets bigger and better,” says Kgosi Rampa, who is also behind the Makhelwane Festival, which he describes as being “all about creating the right setting and vibe through music, poetry, entrepreneurially-focused workshops and live music shows”. The visitors to the market will experience a truly creative atmosphere.

Part of the growth plan is Makhelwane Festival’s aim to attract tourism into Soweto during the festive season with the #GPShotleft #VayaSoweto and #48hrsIn Soweto campaign, aimed at offering local food, fashion, art and music experiences – and encourage local shopping - during the festive season. “It’s key that members of the community are part of the festival, Rampa emphasises, “ They are involved not only as traders but they also supply event logistics like security, cleaning and fencing. Bringing business back to the township and developing the businesses that are here is important to us. The Makhelwane Fest supplies equipment and training to youth that want to enter into the food vending business and guides the startups until they are completely self-sufficient."

“Makhelwane Festival is a subsidiary initiative for township products, where we aim to develop and drive township tourism to further create sustainable platforms for young creatives and entrepreneurs across Gauteng,” continues Rampa. “The festival looks beyond domestic tourism, but the idea is to encourage visitation from people outside of Gauteng and South Africa.”  

Moonchild Sanelly, Doc Shebeleza, Femi Koya and more



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