March 11, 2013
The 2013 Marula Festival festivities culminated on a Jazzy note with Marula Jazz Festival, which featured artists such as Jonathan Mashaba, Ricky Sekgale, Moccah, Colbert Mukwevho, General Muzka, Caifus Semenya, Leta Mbulu, Ringo and Stimela.
Stimela and Ringo were the crowd favorites while Caifus Semenya and Leta Mbulu proved that they still have it in them having the crowd eating out of their hands. Bruce Kgapane of Ziyaphenduka Promotions, the event organizer said that about 60 000 people made their way in and out of the town of Phalaborwa in the 9 days of the festival.
He further said: “Our people should start buying tickets on time and come early for the festivals to avoid disappointments.” Preparations have started in earnest for next year’s festivities. He said that he plans to bring at least one international artist for the Kwaito and Jazz Festivals respectively as the festival has reached the international stage. “Announcement in that regard will be made around the second week of October this year upon conclusion of negotiations,” emphasized Kgapane. Dj Rulf Gum was the only international artist that was on this year’s line-up.
“Tourism and the business community were the biggest winners from the festival as the town recorded full occupancy for all formalized accommodation establishments this weekend. The neighboring towns of Tzaneen and Hoedspruit also benefited as most of the visitors who failed to get accommodation in Phalaborwa were accommodated there. Day tours were conducted with key tourism products such as Kruger National Park, Letaba Ranch and Shona Langa Resort said,” Nocks Seabi, LTA CEO.
Dignitaries who graced the event include the Premier of Limpopo, Mr. Cassel Mathale, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Me. Tokozile Xasa, Minister in the Presidency, Mr. Collins Chabane, MEC for LEDET, Me. Pinky Kekana, Mayor of Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality, CEO and Board Members of Limpopo Tourism Agency.
The festival was officially opened by MEC for LEDET Pinky Kekana, Mayor of Ba-Phalabrwa Cllr. Anna Sono and CEO of Limpopo Tourism Agency Mr. Nocks Seabi over a 2.5 km street parade with drum majorettes, soldiers and bikers from Christian Motorcycle Club Moreleta.
Other activities included the Marula Golf Challenge at Hans Meresky Golf course, Boat Cruise at Shona Langa, kiddies fun fair, career fair at Mopani FET College and A la Marula Cuisine, the cooking competition. The nine Mukumbi Cooperatives who are direct beneficiaries of the festival brewed over 7 000 liters of Marula drink for people to enjoy for free during the festival.