No show for Di­wali Fes­ti­val of Lights

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO CITY BEAT - Conelia Harry

OW­ING to lack of fund­ing and sup­port, the an­nual pop­u­lar Zu­l­u­land Di­wali Fes­ti­val in Richards Bay will not fea­ture on this year’s cal­en­dar.

Af­ter 28 years of host­ing suc­cess­ful and colour­ful events which draw over 5 000 at­ten­dees, the ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers of the Zu­l­u­land Di­wali Com­mit­tee are dis­heart­ened to post­pone the 2018 Fes­ti­val of Lights un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Sched­uled to have taken place on 3 Novem­ber, the event has been placed on hold ow­ing to fi­nan­cial con­straints.

The com­mit­tee has strug­gled to raise suf­fi­cient funds as sup­port has dwin­dled from busi­ness­men who have suc­cess­fully spon­sored this mag­nif­i­cent and colour­ful event for al­most three decades.

The fes­ti­val’s Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Rhana Naicker said the com­mit­tee is de­pen­dent on donor fund­ing from the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors and as many busi­nesses are feel­ing the fi­nan­cial pinch many have backed out this year.

‘Busi­ness­men have apol­o­gised for their lack of sup­port as some have closed their busi­nesses while oth­ers are in dire fi­nan­cial straits ow­ing to the re­ces­sion.

‘It is sad to note that can­celling our an­nual fes­ti­val will im­pact neg­a­tively on our sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties and learn­ers.

‘The an­nual fes­ti­val drew the masses of di­verse eth­nic groups on one com­mon plat­form and learn­ers from the lo­cal schools an­nu­ally show­cased their tal­ents to the lo­cal and na­tional au­di­ence who at­tend this oc­ca­sion.

‘The Fes­ti­val of Lights has great sig­nif­i­cance in the In­dian com­mu­nity. In Zu­l­u­land, we pride our­selves on en­cour­ag­ing cul­tural co­he­sion, ap­pre­ci­a­tion and tol­er­ance of each other’s be­liefs.

‘Last year, the great King Good­will Zwelithini hosted the Di­wali Fes­ti­val at his palace in Non­goma and by virtue of His Majesty’s ac­tion more cre­dence has been added to this an­nual event.

‘Can­celling will cause a blow for the lo­cal stall hold­ers and emerg­ing en­trepreneurs who pre­pare the en­tire year and con­verge at this oc­ca­sion to mar­ket and sell their prod­ucts.

‘It will also be felt by the un­der­priv­i­leged and dis­ad­van­taged masses who can­not af­ford to drive to Dur­ban and en­joy the de­lights of that city’s fes­ti­val,’ she said.

Di­wali Com­mit­tee Pres­i­dent, Spuddy Para­sur­a­men has ex­pressed his deep­est sor­row at the de­ci­sion to post­pone the event.

As a pi­o­neer of this ini­tia­tive, he is dev­as­tated to dis­ap­point the lo­cals, but also em­pathises with the lo­cal busi­nesses and their fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tions.

For more in­for­ma­tion or progress up­dates con­tact 061 4399281 or

084 4271013.

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