Dur­ban set to host in­spir­ing Essence fes­ti­val

CityPress - - News - PHUTI MATHOBELA phuti.mathobela@city­press.co.za

Magic hap­pens when mu­sic, busi­ness, art and fash­ion come to­gether un­der one roof. Cou­pled with in­spi­ra­tion and wis­dom, this means that it can only be the next in­stal­ment of the Essence Fes­ti­val.

The or­gan­is­ers un­veiled what guests can ex­pect at this year’s event – its third an­nual out­ing, set for the end of Septem­ber – at a stylish break­fast held at the Joint Jazz Café on Dur­ban’s South Beach.

The restau­rant is known for its 1930s-style shisa nyama. I’m talk­ing a typ­i­cal braai, with all your favourite sides dished up, to the smooth sounds of lo­cal jazz.

The menu at this beach­front speakeasy was de­signed by Bren­don New­port of Surf Riders, with chefs Com­fort Kweyama and Peter Sim­monds at­tend­ing to the open-flame grills.

The em­cee, ac­tress and TV pre­sen­ter Nomzamo Mbatha, looked beau­ti­ful in her an­kle-length dress and hand­crafted African neck­piece.

She is en­joy­ing a num­ber of ca­reer suc­cesses this year: she co-hosted the Black En­ter­tain­ment Television awards in Los An­ge­les in June, was re­cently un­veiled as an am­bas­sador for the in­ter­na­tional cos­met­ics gi­ant L’Oréal and has been nom­i­nated for an African Pride award in the cat­e­gory of Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment in Film – Africa. The lat­ter event will take place on Au­gust 13.

Back to Dur­ban’s launch. “I am so happy that I was given a chance to em­cee this event to­day to rep­re­sent all the women,” she said.

“It is one of those op­por­tu­ni­ties one wouldn’t say no to. I am here to show young kids that it does not mat­ter where you come from, you can be any­thing if you set your mind to it.”

Among the guests was rap­per Nsikaye­sizwe Ng­cobo, bet­ter known as

Nasty C. He will be part of the

Essence line-up, along with chore­og­ra­pher and me­dia per­son­al­ity Somizi Mh­longo and gospel group Joy­ous Cel­e­bra­tion.

The full line-up was kept un­der wraps, pre­sum­ably be­cause some artists are yet to con­firm whether they will ap­pear. But def­i­nitely on the list to present in­spi­ra­tional talks are the ever-in­spir­ing Bishop TD Jakes and Rev­erend Al Sharp­ton.

The fes­ti­val, billed as a “party with a pur­pose”, fol­lows a sim­i­lar for­mat to the Essence event held an­nu­ally in New Or­leans. It com­bines mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment with busi­ness, life­style, well­ness, food, fash­ion, arts and crafts. This year’s six-day Dur­ban has as its theme Fir­ing Africa with In­spi­ra­tion and will show­case sem­i­nars, ex­hi­bi­tions, work­shops, art in­stal­la­tions and nightly mu­sic con­certs. . The Essence Fes­ti­val takes place in Dur­ban from Septem­ber 26 to Oc­to­ber 1


SHIN­ING STAR Nomzamo Mbatha was the glam­orous em­cee

ALL SET FOR SEPTEM­BER Thobek­ile Mkhize from Mma­batho De­sign, Char­reah Jack­son, se­nior ed­i­tor at Essence, and Phillip Sit­hole, head of Dur­ban Tourism, at­tended the me­dia launch for Essence Dur­ban

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