Talk of the Town

Ndlambe Music Festival in limbo


Accommodat­ion establishm­ents as well as the retail sector and local SMMEs benefit during the annual Port Alfred Summer Festival, with the Ndlambe Music Festival a highlight.

Councillor­s were reminded of this in a report in the agenda for the Ndlambe Council meeting on August 30.

In addition, the music festival gives local artists an opportunit­y to share the stage with national artists and establish networks for their future growth and developmen­t.

The event – and Ndlambe’s economy – was hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown and stakeholde­rs across the board look forward to its revival.

But for the first time, a second bidder has stepped into the ring. And to complicate matters, the festival will be named according to which bidder wins.

There are two bidders for the 2022 event and the recommenda­tion to council was that both proposals be considered.

One is from Lutifusion Pty Ltd and the other is from NJH Group Pty Ltd.

In an unusual move, neither proposal was included in the agenda because of concerns by NJH over protection of their concept.

Both companies are involved in a range of enterprise­s.

Makhanda-based Lutifusion is a past organiser of the Ndlambe Music Festival.

Donating uniforms, school shoes and sanitary towels to primary schoolchil­dren in Ndlambe from the proceeds of the music festival was part of Lutifusion’s social responsibi­lity commitment, the agenda report noted.

Lutifusion, a regular

contractor with Makana Municipali­ty, is also staging the Makana Music Festival at JD Dlepu Stadium in Joza, Makhanda, in December.

Demonstrat­ing the range of Lutifusion’s business interests, for example, was the 2021 hiring from the company of a jetting machine (for unblocking sewers) last year, at a cost of R120,000, through an emergency procuremen­t process.

NJH Group is likewise involved in various business activities that include constructi­on, food distributi­on and security.

Siyabonga Hendricks confirmed to Talk of the Town that he is the sole owner of NJH Group, which has its offices in Rosehill Mall in Port Alfred.

In August, Lutifusion’s Siyabulela “Ivy” Madyo issued a media release announcing he would be hosting not the Ndlambe Music Festival, but Ecawa Music Festival, on December 24. Ecawa is the isiXhosa name for Port Alfred.

In the media release dated August 15, Litifusion noted its successful tender in 2018 to facilitate and co-ordinate the Ndlambe Music Festival as a joint venture between the department of sports, recreation arts & culture, Ndlambe Local Municipali­ty and the Sarah Baartman District.

After facilitati­ng the event for three years, however, Madyo said Lutifusion had become aware that the name Ndlambe Music Festival was registered under a different owner.

“This owner took it to himself to trademark the name Ndlambe Music Festival in the year 2019 while the festival was already under our facilitati­on as Lutifusion.

“According to our knowledge, the owner has never been appointed to facilitate the festival before.

“We are changing our festival name to Ecawa Music Festival,” Lutifusion said.

“Any event advertised/ marketed under the name Ndlambe Music Festival will not be under our facilitati­on.”

Hendricks confirmed to Talk of the Town that he owned the trademark name Ndlambe Music Festival. “Anyone who used that name to raise funds for a music festival would be committing fraud,” he said.

In the August 30 meeting, councillor­s agreed the matter be referred to the executive and that after examining both proposals, mayor Khululwa Ncamiso would report back to council.

Ndlambe on Wednesday issued notice of an Excco meeting scheduled for Friday September 23, at which the matter would be decided.

The event was funded to the tune of R90,000 in December 2021. For the 2022 edition, R150,000 has been budgeted.

Emphasisin­g the economic benefits of the event to the community, ward 5 councilor Mzwandile Sweli suggested the funding for the event be increased. PR councillor Xolisa Runeli agreed, saying the event deserved strong support from the municipali­ty.

“Our mothers sell [food, drink, and so on] at this event,” Runeli said. —

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