Marula fes­ti­val fever grows

Tourists to flock to the prov­ince for cel­e­bra­tions

African Times - - News - MOYAHABO MABEBA

NEVER in the his­tory of Marula Fes­ti­val has the re­gion of Sekhukhune in Lim­popo gen­er­ated so much fan­fare. For the first time, the fes­tiv­i­ties of this an­nual Marula sea­son were launched on the land of the leg­endary King Sekhukhune, the warrior who led dar­ing com­bats dur­ing the Mfe­cane and Di­faqane tribal wars.

The aroma of the marula fruits is enough to tan­ta­lise one’s taste buds as plans are well afoot to stage the 13th edi­tion of the an­nual Marula Fes­ti­val sched­uled for Pha­l­aborwa from Jan­uary 28 to March 31.

Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude a street car­ni­val, 4x4 chal­lenge, com­mu­nity marathon, trade fair and ex­hi­bi­tion, youth rugby, youth fes­ti­val, ca­reer expo, gold chal­lenge and a jazz fes­ti­val at Ingwe Park.

Lim­popo prov­ince spends the en­tire year pre­par­ing for the fes­ti­val to co­in­cide with har­vest sea­son of Fe­bru­ary right through to the end of March.

The part­ner­ship of sev­eral stake­hold­ers like SEDA, Lim­popo Tourism Agency, Lim­popo De­vel­op­ment Agency, Ba-Pha­l­aborwa Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Mopani District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Of­fice of the Premier, Na­tional Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture, Pha­l­aborwa Tourism Agency and Kruger Na­tional Park use the pe­riod as an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate the Marula Cul­tural Her­itage as well as iden­tify ac­tiv­i­ties

that as­sist the prov­ince’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The Fes­ti­val of the First Fruit, the Marula Fes­ti­val – “Ku Lu­maNguva”/ “Go Loma Morula– is a her­itage phe­nom­e­non which is per­formed by tra­di­tional lead­ers at the be­gin­ning of the Marula Sea­son.

It is a her­itage prac­tice that pre­cludes any drink­ing of the Marula

bev­er­age be­fore tra­di­tional lead­ers have blessed the sea­son.

The town of Pha­l­aborwa, be­cause of its tourism pro­file and close prox­im­ity to other ma­jor tourist des­ti­na­tions in­clud­ing the world’s renowned Kruger Na­tional Park (KNP), has been de­clared a per­ma­nent home for host­ing the an­nual Marula Fes­ti­val.

Dubbed the “town of two sum­mers” be­cause it never re­ally gets cold in this sub­trop­i­cal town of mild win­ters and warm sum­mers, Pha­l­aborwa en­joys av­er­age day tem­per­a­tures of 23°C and is the ideal year-round hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion.

The town has a well-de­vel­oped in­fra­struc­ture, a top-class air­port and golf course, a wide va­ri­ety of tourists’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, tourism prod­ucts and nu­mer­ous game lodges in close prox­im­ity.

It is eas­ily pack­aged with prod­ucts around Hoed­spruit, Tza­neen, Mod­jad­jiskloof, Ma­goe­baskloof and Giyani.

This lo­ca­tion and set­ting make the Marula Fes­ti­val a ma­jor at­trac­tion for do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourists.

This year’s edi­tion is a sequel to sev­eral other fes­ti­vals since 2006 and ev­ery year the event at­tracts more and more peo­ple from var­i­ous cor­ners of the coun­try and part­ners from the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity.

Rev­ellers will also be treated to a mu­sic fes­ti­val that will run for two weeks fea­tur­ing among oth­ers, Salif Keita, Kelly Price, Amanda Black, Penny Penny, Se­laelo Selota, Thomas Chauke, Ringo, Dr.Tumi, King Mon­ada, Wor­ship House and Candy.

Lim­popo MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­ment and Tourism, Sea­paro Sekoati said: “The fes­ti­val is ac­tu­ally grow­ing and this year it will only be bet­ter and we are hop­ing that peo­ple will as well leave their homes to come and be part of this ac­tiv­ity.

With in­ter­na­tional guests from Cuba, Venezuela, Mozambique, Tan­za­nia, Zim­babwe, An­gola and Namibia, Sekoati said, “The fes­ti­val is aimed at de­vel­op­ing sus­tain­able lo­cal econ­omy through var­i­ous mod­els of in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment.

Sekoati went on to say: “The Marula Fes­ti­val is a draw card to at­tract do­mes­tic, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional tourists to Lim­popo dur­ing the marula sea­son.

“To de­velop the fes­ti­val as a mar­ketable brand for Lim­popo, a fact-find­ing mission was car­ried out to Ger­many at the Mu­nick Ok­to­ber­fest two years ago in an en­deav­our to en­hance knowl­edge and skills on how re­lated fes­ti­vals can suc­cess­fully be con­ducted in a sus­tain­able man­ner.”

POS­I­TIVE: Lim­popo MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­ment and Tourism, Sea­paro Sekoati.

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